Ibadan - The Oyo State Government said on Monday that it would appoint additional six judges for the state’s High Court as soon as approval was given by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The state’s Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr Adebayo Ojo, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Monday.
Ojo said that the dearth of judges in the state’s judiciary did not begin with the present administration, adding that it was inherited from past administrations in the state.
“While the administration of Senator Rasheed Ladoja was able to appoint five judges, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala’s effort to appoint judges was not successful, because the NJC did not give their approval.
“We, however, have set machinery in motion to appoint more judges and I can tell you that we have done all that is expected of us.
“Our application is now with the NJC in Abuja for approval. And NJC will meet in April to consider whether they are going to grant our request to appoint more judges or not.
“We are starting with six. We are appointing six. We are left with 16 judges and with that six it will take us to 22.
“And in Oyo State, we are supposed to have 30 judges and I can assure you this government, this present government, being a responsible and responsive government, we will ensure that we appoint full complement of 30 judges for our High Courts.’’
The commissioner, however, expressed concern over the inability of the state governments to freely appoint judges without approval by the federal authorities.
“I don’t see any reason why we want to appoint judges in Oyo State we have to go to Abuja for approval. They are our judges now!
“We are not appointing federal judges; we are appointing judges for Oyo State High Courts, but because we are running a unified judicial system, which should not be in a federal state, you still have to seek approval in Abuja.”
“Even the six we are appointing now, the quota was given to us from Abuja that we can only appoint six under the last year’s budget.
“For this year’s budget, we don’t know how many they will approve for us again.”