At least four out of the 22 newly inaugurated judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, are said to be children of justices of the Supreme Court and the Appeal Court.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, on Tuesday, at the Supreme Court complex, swore in the 22 new judges whose appointments have stirred up some resistance from the bar.
Four of the newly inaugurated judges are children of serving and retired judges in the country while one other is the sibling of a serving judge.
The inauguration comes barely a year after protests erupted over the controversial list of nominees, forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari by the National Judicial Council for consideration.
Some of the newly inaugurated judges include Njideka Nwosu-Iheme, daughter of Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court. Nwosu-Iheme was appointed into the FCT Judiciary in March 2015 and was until recently a Magistrate at the Wuse Zone 6 Magistrate court.
According to a petition dated May 6, 2020, by Silas Onu and Chidi Odinkalu, conveners of the Open Bar Initiative, the relatives of at least eight judges were on the list.
Others inaugurated on Tuesday whose nominations had been challenged include; Fatima Abubakar Aliyu, the daughter of the immediate past President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa; Mimi Katsina-Alu Apena, the daughter of late CJN, Aloysius Katsina-Alu, and Ibrahim Mohammed, the son of a former grand-khadi of the FCT. There is also Nwabulu Chineze, said to be a sister to the presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Akure.
The remaining judges that were inaugurated are; Madugu Alhaji, Agunloye Kayode, Enenche Eleojo, Aminu Abdullahi, Nwecheonwu Elewe, Sadiya Mayana, Kanyip Indinya, Aliyu Shafa, Mohammed Zubaru, Oluyemisi Adelaja, Agashieze Odinaka, Aliyu Ahmed, Hafsat Abba-Aliyu, Olufolake Oshin, Binta Dogonyaro, Muhammad Adamu and Jadesola Adeyemi-Ajayi.
Justice Muhammad at the inauguration called on the 22 new Judges to refrain from anything that would smear their name or bring them into disrepute.
He said: “The bench is neither for the prosaic, the greedy nor those with questionable character who can easily fall for a plate of porridge offered by desperate litigants.”
He charged them to rise above temptations and trials that might obstruct or even halt their rise to the pinnacle of their career.
According to him, the newly sworn-in judges have entered a lifetime covenant with God and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adding that whatever they do right would be counted and accordingly recorded in their favour.
“Appointment to the bench is not an appointment to wealth, vainglory, dishonest disposition or ostentatious lifestyle through corrupt acquaintances,” Muhammad admonished, warning that the searchlight of the National Judicial Council had been beamed on all judicial officers in the country.
The CJN said, “Our radar is sophisticated enough to detect every form of corruption and wrongdoings. The remoteness of your location of adjudication can never blur our sight on you.”