President Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa

The President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa yesterday said that due process was followed in the appointment of 14 Justices into the Court of Appeal Bench.

She added that the appointment was to fill vacancies which arose from retirement, death and elevation to Supreme Court Bench of some Justices from certain zones of the country.

Justice Bulkachuwa who stated this during the opening of the 2017 Court of Appeal Judges Conference held at the headquarters of the Court in Abuja added that the court within the year delivered a total of 3, 001 judgements and at the same heard about 6, 963 appeals.

New Telegraph recalled that allegation bothering on exclusion of Judges from the South East had trailed the elevation of 14 Justices to the Court of Appeal Bench. Justice Bulkachuwa, however, stated that judges appointed were from the zones where vacancies existed on the Bench of the court.

Justice Bulkachuwa said: “I would like to seize this opportunity to straighten the fact on the ongoing process of elevation of judges to the Court of Appeal.

It is strictly based on merit with particular preference for Judges who have distinguished themselves by the quality of their Judgements in the lower courts and to fill in vacancies created by the death, retirement or elevation to the Supreme Court of our former justices. “Sometimes back, the Judiciary came under heavy attacks on allegation of corrupt practices.

As judicial officers, it is not enough to simply talk about corrupt practices but one must believe in the fight against corruption and we must work at it together. I therefore, urge us all to eschew corruption and uphold best practices that will rekindle and bring back trust to the judicial arm of government. Let’s not ask how corruption can be tackled; our main focus should be on what we can do as individuals, or collectively as a body to address this plague.

“I would like to inform this auspicious gathering that during the 2016 /2017 Legal year, a pragmatic framework was set as an indicator to clear backlog of appeals in the sixteen Judicial Divisions of the Court of Appeal. It is against this backdrop that a special taskforce was set up to clear this backlog.

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