August 11, 2022

The Bauchi State House of Assembly has directed the state judiciary to immediately suspend the appointment exercise of the area and upper area court judges until its Committee on Judiciary completes its investigation of alleged lopsidedness in the exercise.

The Assembly’s decision came on the heels of an allegation of lopsidedness in the appointment of the judges made by the Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Honourable Baballe Abubakar Dambam.

 

Speaking under matters of urgent public importance during Tuesday’s plenary Dambam submitted that the exercise favoured a section of the state above others, saying this negated fairness, equity and justice and if not checked might lead to acrimony.

The lawmaker, who represents Dambam/Dagauda/Jalam Constituency, informed that his constituents complained to him about irregularities and lopsidedness in the appointments, adding that they asked him to urge the House to correct the anomalies for equity and fairness.

 

The lawmaker said there was lopsidedness in the appointment of upper court judges by the State Ministry of Justice.

 

According to him, the names of the 18 upper area court judges appointed would be released any moment from now, adding that the selection process for area court judges would then follow.

 

Buttressing his claim, Dambam submitted that some local governments that had indigenes on Grade Levels 15 and 16 in the Ministry of Justice were ignored, while those on Grade Levels 13 and 14 were appointed.

While emphasising the principle of federal character at the national level to ensure equity among various parts, the lawmaker informed that the ‘ State character of Bauchi is not followed in the appointments.”

 

He added that there ought to be equity in the appointments of judges among the 20 local government areas in the state, adding that all appointments should reflect state character.

 

“There should be equity among the 20 LGAs of the state. But in this exercise, out of the 18 judges appointed, eight are from Bauchi Local Government alone.

“If zones are considered, Bauchi South got 11, Bauchi North got five and only two from Central Zone. If emirates are considered, then 13 of the judges are from Bauchi Emirate and none from Jama’are and Misau Emirates.

 

“This should not be allowed, all appointments should reflect state character,” the Deputy Majority Leader declared.

 

He then urged the House to direct the judiciary not to release the appointments and further direct House Committees on Judiciary and Public Service to sit with the Ministry of Justice to ensure justice was done.

 

He also prayed that the House should direct that every appointment should be opened to all who are qualified.

 

Dambam submitted that the judiciary was the last hope of the common man and as such, it should be just to all.

 

“The last hope for the common man is the judiciary. If this injustice is coming from the judiciary how do you expect justice to be given to who justice is due?

 

“If this is done in the appointment of judges for the upper courts that of the area courts can be worse,” he said.

 

In his remarks, the Speaker, Right Hon Abubakar Y Suleiman, said the issue was very important, which ought to be given prompt attention.

 

He subsequently referred the matter to the House Committee on Judiciary for necessary action and directed the committee to report back within two days.

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