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Senators Confirm Galadima, Rhodes-Vivour As Supreme Court Justices

Source: EMMA UCHE - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, July 28, (THEWILL) - Justices Suleiman Galadima (North Central Zone) (Justice of the Court of Appeal) and Bode Rhodes-Vivour (South West Zone) (Justice of Court of Appeal) effectively became justices of the Supreme Court today courtesy of their confirmation by the Senate.

Though, their confirmation was trailed by protests by some senator over non representation of their zones at the Supreme Court.

President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier forwarded their nominations to the Senate as replacement for Legbo Kutigi (North Central Zone) and B.O. Aderemi (South West Zone), who have retired from service.

Presenting the report of the screening to the Senate, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Umaru Dahiru maintained that the nominees are fit and proper persons for appointment as justices of the Supreme Court.

"After careful scrutiny of the CVs and other accompanying documents and having been satisfied about their exposure, experience, performance, qualification and competence, I hereby recommend confirmation of their nomination," Dahiru said.

He also disclosed to his colleagues that upon confirmation of the two nominations, the composition of the 17 justices of the Supreme Court is North-East – 2, North-West – 3, North-Central – 4, South-East – 2, South-West – 3, and South-South – 3.

This did not go down well with a cross-section of the Chamber who kicked against the imbalances in the composition and sought for measures to correct the seeming one-sidedness.

Speaking on the seeming imbalances, Chairman of the Information and Media Committee, Ayogu Eze noted that the composition of the Supreme Court has buttressed the need for creation of more states in the South-East.

"There is need to create additional states in the South-East. South-East has only five states and that is why we are being marginalized in many ways."

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee echoed Eze’s sentiments but also expressed confidence in the ability of the new justices in their new assignment.

"I have no doubt in the confidence of the ability of the two justices. But we in the North-East are going to remain with two justices while some other zones have three justices in the Supreme Court."

Also opposing the composition, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said, "I am worried by the distribution of justices of the Supreme Court. South-East has only two justices. This is the highest court in the land and should reflect the geo-political zone.

"I suggest that NJC should make it equal number for each zone to ensure fairness and equity."

In another development, Senate President David Mark assured agitators of state creation that following the successful completion and passage into law of some amended sections of the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly in now poised for the second phase which bothers on creation of states.

Mark said this when he received separate delegations from Hadejia State Creation Movement from the present Jigawa State and Ibarapa Consultative Forum from the present Oyo State. He said the exercise is paramount in response to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

"As elected representatives of the people, we carry the burden of the people and we respond in a manner that would meet their yearnings and aspirations."

Mark noted that all the demands for creation of new states are genuine and desirable but that the National Assembly shall consider each and every of the request on merit and "such requests must include but not limited to economic and political viability of the proposed state."

The President of the Senate expressed optimism that creation of more states would bring government nearer to the people and ultimately usher in an era of even development and healthy competition between and among the federating States.

He assured that National Assembly would be guided by patriotism and rule of law which he believes would give all sections of Nigeria a sense of belonging.