In a recent statement, Mr. Soji Oye, Director of Information of the National Judicial Council (NJC), refuted claims circulating on social media alleging that the Council received a nomination list for Supreme Court vacancies from the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC). He clarified this misinformation in Abuja on Sunday, asserting that he never discussed with anybody regarding the list of justice nominees from the FJSC.
Oye dismissed the social media reports as deliberate misrepresentations orchestrated by mischief-makers. He stressed that official statements from the Council through his office are the sole reliable sources for such matters.
Emphasising the importance of accuracy in reporting, the NJC spokesperson cautioned against the dissemination of unverified information on social media, especially concerning nominations for the apex court and the associated processes.
Prior reports suggested that the FJSC forwarded a list of 22 justices from the Court of Appeal to the NJC for elevation to the Supreme Court in September 2023. This list was purportedly aimed at filling the 11 vacancies at the apex court, a move necessitated by retirements and other vacancies within the Supreme Court.
If the NJC had indeed received these nominations, it would have commenced an evaluation process. The Council would then have had to shortlist and recommend deserving candidates to President Bola Tinubu, who would then nominate them to the Supreme Court, subject to Senate confirmation.
The purported nomination process sparked discussions regarding the appropriate number of justices required for the effective functioning of the Supreme Court. While some had criticised the increase in nominations, questioning potential overstaffing, others had advocated for adequate staffing to manage the growing caseload of the court.
The NJC’s decision on nominees carries considerable significance, as it is under pressure to select qualified, experienced, and impartial justices.