An Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, on Wednesday ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari acted in contravention of the law when he forwarded to the Senate for screening and confirmation, the names of 11 candidates recommended to him by the National Judicial Council (NJC) for appointment as judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
The Judge made the pronouncement in a suit filed by an Abuja-based lawyer, Oladimeji Ekengba, who argued that the action of the president was in breach of section 256(2) of the Nigerian Constitution.
Buhari had, without any explicit rationale picked 11 names from among the 33 recommended to him in April this year by the NJC for appointment as FCT High Court judges.
He forwarded the 11 names to the Senate for screening, but the upper legislative chamber declined to act on his request, on the premise that it had no responsibility in the appointment of FCT judges.
The 11 judges have since been sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.
Aside from faulting the sending of the names of 11 of the candidates to the Senate, Ekengba, in his suit, also contended that the President lacked the power to pick and choose whom among the candidates to appoint as judges recommended by the NJC.
He sought among other prayers, an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Senate from screening and confirming the candidates as judges of the FCT High Court.
Giving the judgment on Wednesday, Justice Inyag Ekwo agreed with the plaintiff that Buhari acted in contravention of the provision of Section 256(2) of the Constitution by forwarding the 11 names to the Senate.