- The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) recently nominated nine top lawyers to be appointed as Supreme Court judges
- Pa Tunji Gomez, a senior Nigerian lawyer, is insisting that appointing the lawyers would breed political judges
Nigeria’s top lawyer, Pa Tunji Gomez, has warned against the plan to make some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) justices of the Supreme Court.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) recently released a list of nine names to be appointed as Supreme Court judges as the federal government plans to sanitise the judiciary.
Gomez, an octogenarian based in Lagos state, revealed that the country would not achieve the expected result from the plan.
The Punch reports that Gomez, who has been in legal practice for 56 years, would be counter-productive and breed political judges.
Reportedly saying the move would kill the morale of the justices of the Court of Appeal, who have paid their dues over the years and are expecting to be elevated, Gomez called on the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, and the NJC to immediately put a stop to the process.
“I am sure that the majority of lawyers will not appreciate the movement by which the procedure is being put into effect.
“It is inimical to the judiciary; it is inimical to the profession. Besides, it creates an unfair trading because, let’s face it, they are now going to bring SANs above Appeal Court Justices to the Supreme Court.
“The Court of Appeal judges, who have been there for years, are being portrayed as unfit for the post of a Supreme Court judge. A man who passed through the high court, Court of Appeal, and now suddenly, you say he’s not fit and you went and bring a lawyer.
“It is demeaning; it is a sign of condemnation to the Court of Appeal Justices that they are not fit. And that is very bad. It is bad because people won’t respect them anymore. It is bad because judges of the high court are being told that these SANs are superior to them, which is not true.
“It creates a tremendous fear in the judges of the high court.
“If you are in the position, you rose from the high court to the Court of Appeal, now you are senior judge of the Court of Appeal, then instead of elevating you to the Supreme Court, they went to pick a practising lawyer, how do you feel? Is that justice? Is there any reason to compare the judges with the SANs? What is the comparison? Let them suspend it!
“The lawyers were not fully consulted. Let us suspend it immediately before we kill the judiciary. Because if we don’t, it would end up with every Tom, D*ck and Harry becoming a Supreme Court judge. We must stop it.”