In a move that echoes the spirit of inclusivity enshrined in our constitution, the House of Representatives has called for a halt in the recruitment process of judges in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.
The call comes amid concerns over the lack of representation of judges from states like Ebonyi, Abia, Imo, and Bayelsa in the FCT High Court system, a situation seen as a violation of the Federal Character principle.
As the sun set on February 13, 2024, the House of Representatives issued a directive that resonated across the nation. The recruitment process for vacant positions in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory was to be suspended until compliance with the Federal Character Principle and quota system was ensured. This decision was not taken lightly, but in response to a growing concern that certain states were being left out of the judicial representation in the FCT High Court system.
The Silent Struggle for Representation
Despite having at least seven magistrates from the underrepresented states of Ebonyi, Abia, Imo, and Bayelsa currently working in the FCT court system, these states have no indigenes sitting in the FCT High Court. Adding to the concern is the presence of qualified private legal practitioners from these states who are more than willing to apply for the vacant positions.
The House of Representatives has urged the National Judicial Council to revisit the appointment of High Court Judges into the 12 vacancies positions in the Federal High Court. The lawmaker emphasized the need for the appointments to reflect the Federal Character principle, a cornerstone of our constitution that promotes unity and inclusiveness. This call is not just about representation; it's about upholding the constitution and ensuring that every state, regardless of size or influence, has a voice in our judicial system.
The House of Representatives has taken a stand for justice, unity, and inclusiveness. As we wait for the response from the National Judicial Council, let us remember that our strength lies in our diversity, and our unity is built on the foundation of fair representation. This is not just a story about the judiciary; it's a story about who we are as a nation and what we stand for.