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BREAKING NEWS: Nigeria’s Chief Justice Ariwoola Nominates Daughter, Victoria Oluwakemi As FCT High Court Judge

Ariwoola also successfully installed his younger brother, Adebayo Ariwoola, as the auditor of the National Judicial Council, while his nephew, Lateef Ganiyu, was recently promoted to the appeal court...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has reportedly nominated his daughter, Justice Victoria Oluwakemi, as a judge to the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.

The nomination was revealed through documents obtained by PeoplesGazette and judiciary sources familiar with the process.

SaharaReporters in July 2023 reported how the CJN succeeded in getting the National Judicial Council (NJC) to appoint his son, Ariwoola Olukayode Jnr, as a judge of the Federal High Court.

Ariwoola also successfully installed his younger brother, Adebayo Ariwoola, as the auditor of the National Judicial Council, while his nephew, Lateef Ganiyu, was recently promoted to the appeal court.

Also, some of his other relatives are heading diverse positions across the judiciary bureaucracy, according to a recent observation by human rights lawyer, Chidi Odinkalu, who has been tracking nepotism as a growing issue in the judiciary.

The CJN, who assumed office in 2022, has elicited little concern about the perception of the judiciary by Nigerians and even admonished judges in October to remain indignant amid widespread agitation for the independence of the bench.

Peoples Gazette reports that the 69-year-old CJN began lobbying to seat his daughter on the bench after he was notified in a January 18, 2024, letter from Husseini Baba-Yusuf, the chief judge of the FCT High Court, that 12 new positions had opened up in the court.

Baba-Yusuf reportedly urged Ariwoola, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi and the President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, to send candidates drawn from a dozen states.

Baba-Yusuf was quoted as saying, “In line with the National Judicial Council Guidelines and Procedural Rules for Appointment of Judicial Officers to Superior Courts, I hereby invite your lordships, the honourable attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice and the president of the Nigerian Bar Association to kindly nominate suitably qualified persons from the aforementioned states for appointment to the Federal Capital Territory High Court.”

He added that they should forward their candidates with resumés to his chambers latest by January 19, 2024.

Baba-Yusuf listed the states due to feed candidates to the court as Bauchi, Bayelsa, Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Taraba and Zamfara.

But The Gazette reports that checks showed that Oyo already has two judges on the FCT High Court, Mohammed Alhaji Madugu and Ajoke Adepoju from Saki and Ibadan South-West LGAs respectively.

The court has 70 judges system-wide and they are selected across the 36 states and FCT. Some states have two or three judges, while some, like Ebonyi, have none.

Officials said that Ebonyi should have been among the 12 states to fill vacancies as it currently has no position on the court, but another seat was opened for Oyo to allow the CJN to fill it with his daughter, which would give Oyo three slots at the expense of states without a single slot.

A judiciary source was quoted as saying, “The CJN personally asked the FCT CJ to do this exercise to employ his daughter-in-law before his retirement in August,” adding, “When is he going to realise that the Nigerian judiciary is not his personal asset?”

Judiciary workers also took issues with Ariwoola’s nomination because she is a junior magistrate with only three years’ experience, having been appointed first in 2020. She’s currently a grade two at Wuse Zone 2.

Baba-Yusuf did not return a request seeking comments, but a court official who spoke on the condition of anonymity reportedly said the senior judge would try to close ranks with aggrieved colleagues over the matter to avoid yet another revolt.

The official said, “The chief judge has been trying to avoid any controversy for now,” adding, “His hands may be tied right now with the nomination of the chief justice’s daughter, but he might call his colleagues to a meeting and let them see things from his own point of view.”

The official reportedly feared that even if Baba-Yusuf would consider dropping the CJN’s daughter to ward off internal revolt, a positive outcome would be difficult because of the chief justice, who defied public uproar over his son, junior brother and others he pushed into top positions in the judiciary..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE (Bunady.com). He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email: contact.bunady@gmail.com

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