The Senate, yesterday, confirmed the appointment of 11 new justices of the Supreme Court appointed by President Bola Tinubu to fill vacancies at the apex court.
With the confirmation of the 11 justices, the Supreme Court now has the full complement of 21 justices on its bench, as required by law.
The confirmation followed the consideration and adoption of a report by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, during plenary.
Tinubu had asked the Senate to confirm the nominees, who were recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC) to fill vacant positions following death and resignation of some justices.
Those confirmed were Justice Haruna Tsammani (North-east), who chaired the Presidential Election Petition Court, Justice Moore Adumein (South-south), Justice Jummai Sankey (North-central), Justice Chidiebere Uwa (South-east), and Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme (South-east).
Others were Justice Obande Ogbuinya (South-east), Justice Stephen Adah (North-central), Justice Habeeb Abiru (South-west), Justice Jamilu Tukur (North-west), Justice Abubakar Umar (North-west), and Justice Mohammed Idris (North-central).
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters,, Senator Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno), while presenting his panel’s report, said the nominees possessed the requisite qualifications and experience to occupy the position and there was no petition against them.
Monguno, therefore, recommended their confirmation.
However, some senators, who spoke before the confirmation, expressed concern over the delay in the appointment of justices for the Supreme Court bench.
Senator Seriake Dickson (PDP, Bayelsa) advised that in the event of subsequent vacancies, a provision should be made for immediate replacement.
Dickson said, “Anytime these vacancies occur, they should be filled immediately. I want to draw that to the attention of the president. There shouldn’t be delay so that we don’t become a laughing stock.”
The Senate Leader, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APD, Ekiti), said it was important to screen and appoint those next in line immediately as vacancies occurred at the apex court.Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia) stressed that the funds allocated to the Supreme Court in the 2024 budget should be reviewed upward to ensure its effectiveness.
Kalu said, “The Senate should look at the budget of the judiciary because even the state courts are in a mess. How can they give good justice? This is not the way it was before; we were doing better.”
The red chamber in plenary, which was presided by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, adjourned to Friday next week, after Thursday’s plenary, to enable members celebrate Christmas and Boxing Day with their families and constituents.