The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, have called for the immediate appointment of more Justices for the Court of Appeal, noting that some Divisions of the Court do not have the quorum of five Justices for the constitution of a full panel.
The NBA, in an address by its National President, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, presented at a special valedictory court session that was held in honour of the President of the Court of Appeal, PCA, Justice Zainab c, who bowed out of the judiciary upon clocking the 70 years mandatory retirement age, also advocated for the elevation of more female Judges to the appellate court.
It noted that out of 86 Justices that are currently on the bench of the Court of Appeal, only 23 of them are females.
The NBA said: “Indeed, the number of female justices of the Court of Appeal reached 10 only in 2005 with the elevation of Denton-West, JCA-18 years after the elevation of Mukhtar JCA (as she then was) and 12 years after the elevation of Ige JCA.
“As at date, out of 86 Justices of the Court of Appeal, only 23 – barely 30 per cent – are female. With such a poor record in gender diversity, the epoch-making achievement of Bulkachuwa PCA, truly calls for celebration and corrective steps in enlarging the coast of our diversity and gender inclusion”.
On the need for the appointment of more Justices, the legal body said: “Ideally, some Divisions, like the Lagos Division of this Honourable Court should have not less than 3 panels that sit regularly and consistently to reduce and spread the workload and that means, having more JJCA that are posted to these Divisions.
“Not to be forgotten is that we have in the recent months been blessed with additional and newly-created Divisions of this Court which, by itself, enhances access to justice but also compounds and stretches beyond the limits the work schedules of the limited JJCA that we currently have.
“The NBA, therefore, calls for the immediate appointment of additional Justices of the Court of Appeal not just for the extremely busy Divisions of the Honourable Court but for literally all the Divisions, the need for which we would illustratively show presently.”