Court strike out suit alleging marginalization in appointment of 18 justices of Court of Appeal

A judge of the federal High Court, Inyany Ekwo has struck out the suit filed by Igbo socio-cultural group, the Incorporated Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation alleging marginalization of South East Zone of the Country in  the appointments of 18 justices of the Court of Appeal .

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday held that the plaintiff,the  Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation lacked the locus standi that is the legal right to institute the action being a Foundation

Justice Ekwo said the Foundation acted ultra vire section 823(1) of CAM 2000 that gave birth to it.

The judge therefore resolved the preliminary objection anchored  on locus standi by the National Judicial Council (NJC), Federal Judicial Commission and President of Court of Appeal who are the respondents in their favour .

“I resolved the issue of locus standi against the plaintiff,” the judge ruled.
Consequently ,” I  strike  out the suit for lacked of jurisdiction” he added.
Earlier in the ruling the judge explained that if the preliminary objection succeed there would be no need proceeding to the substantive suit.

The plaintiff in the matter an  Igbo socio-cultural group, the Incorporated Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation, had in the substantive suit  prayed Justice Ekwo to stop the appointment of the appellate court Justices on the ground that the South East region had been marginalised in the selection. 

The group, through its lawyer, Mr Max Ozoaka, argued that the selection of the 18 Justices done by the National Judicial Council (NJC) violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution through lopsidedness in the nomination.

Specifically, the group alleged that the Principle of Federal Character was breached in the way and manner the Appeal Court justices were nominated and subsequently prayed the judge to stop the appointment.

But  the NJC (1st respondent), represented by Mr Paul Usoro, (SAN) while arguing his preliminary objection in the matter prayed Justice Ekwo to decline jurisdiction in the matter on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the case.