Jonathan Seals Salami’s Fate, Appoints Bulkachuwa Acting PCA

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President Goodluck
Jonathan has approved the appointment of Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as Acting
President of the Court of Appeal following a recommendation of the National
Judicial Council (NJC). With
the appointment, every hope of recalling suspended President of the court,
Justice Ayo Isa Salami, may have been dashed.
It
would be recalled that there have been moves to get Justice Salami reinstated
as the NJC had on October 2, told an Abuja Federal High Court that the
continued stay in office of Justice Dalhatu Adamu as Acting President of the
Court of Appeal was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

The
NJC also declared that it does not need the approval of the President to recall
Justice Salami from suspension.

Reacting
to a suit filed by Registered Trustees of Centre for the Promotion of
Arbitration challenging the refusal of Jonathan to reinstate Justice Salami as
President of the Court of Appeal as recommended by the NJC, the council said it
was against the Constitution for the President to continue to re-appoint Adamu
for the job.
The
NJC further declared that it has the exclusive constitutional power to
reinstate Justice Salami.
NJC
counsel, Usman Isa Kana,  said that by virtue of Section 238(5) of the
Constitution, the fifth defendant (Adamu) could not be re-appointed after the
expiration of three months without recommendation of the third (NJC) defendant.
It
therefore said Adamu’s continued stay in office  as the Acting President
of the Court of Appeal was unconstitutional and illegal.
The
plaintiff had asked the court to determine five questions which border on the
interpretation of the powers of the NJC vis-à-vis the powers of the President
as it relates to the exercise of disciplinary power over Justices of the Court
of Appeal as enshrined in the Constitution.
The
council argued that the disciplinary power to recall of a suspended Justice of
the Court of Appeal was exclusively vested in it.
It
further argued that by virtue of Sections 153, 158(1) of the Constitution and
the NJC’s powers to exercise disciplinary control over judicial officers, the
council was clothed with the power to suspend and recall Justice Salami without
any recourse to the President.
However, 
the NJC made a U-turn on Thursday. In a statement by its Deputy Director of
Information, Soji Oye, NJC said, “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR has
approved the appointment of Hon. Justice Zainab A. Bulkachuwa as the Acting
President of the Court of Appeal following the recommendation of the National
Judicial Council.
“The
appointment of Hon. Justice Dalhatu Adamu as Acting President of the Court of
Appeal expires tomorrow (today) November 23, 2012.
“Hon.
Justice Zainab Bukachuwa will be sworn in at 10.00 a.m. on Friday, November 23,
2012 by the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial
Council, Hon. Justice Maryam Aloma Muktar, GCON at the Supreme Court,” the
statement added.
Meanwhile,
Justice Mukhtar is to swear in Ifeoma Jombo-Ofo as Justice of the Court of
Appeal today.
She
will take the oath at the Supreme Court, Abuja.
The
swearing in is coming on the heels of Wednesday’s decision by the NJC which at
its emergency meeting in Abuja overruled the decision of the CJN not to swear
in Justice Jombo-Ofo on the grounds that she is from Anambra State but married
to an Abia State indigene.
Similarly,
Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed
Bello Adoke, will today inaugurate the Governing Council of the National Human
Rights Commission of Nigeria (NHRC).
The
delay in inaugurating the council has resulted in a backlog of petitions on
various human rights violations.
The
council could not hear the petitioners because it had not been inaugurated.
An
amendment to the statute establishing the commission has conferred more powers
on it, including the powers to summon and compel witness attendance and to
award compensation to victims of human rights violations in Nigeria.
The
council is headed by renowned human rights activist, Chidi Odinkalu.

Source: Daily Independent

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