Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has pushed the National Judicial Council (NJC) to move more quickly to nominate more justices to the Supreme Court of Nigeria’s bench.
There are now just 10 Justices on the Supreme Court, as opposed to the 21 that the Constitution calls for.
The AGF requested that the NJC move quickly to relieve the remaining 10 Justices of their workload, even though he acknowledged that the process of replacing the Supreme Court’s vacancies had started.
Fagbemi delivered a speech during the Supreme Court’s special session to usher in the 2023–2024 legal year and to see the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, swear in newly designated Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
“To avoid unnecessary delay and minimize disruptions at that level, I would like to take this opportunity to ask the leadership of the National Judicial Council to expedite the process of achieving a full complement of the Supreme Court and to also concurrently put in place the process of filling the consequential vacancies that will be occasioned at the Court of Appeal,” Fagbemi said.
The AGF said that President Bola Tinubu’s government has stated that it is willing to carry out judicial reforms with the judiciary’s assistance.
The Minister of Justice stated, “We therefore humbly await the judiciary to set the ball rolling to enable the other arms play their part in this crucial aspect of nation-building.”
The AGF stated that the backlog of appeals at the highest court has to be addressed comprehensively and voiced concerns about it.
“We need to start coming up with creative ways to improve the Supreme Court’s operational capabilities, reduce the volume of appeals that come before the Court, carry out important judicial reforms, and embrace alternative dispute resolution procedures.”
The AGF, meanwhile, congratulated the 58 attorneys on being named Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
According to him, being awarded the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) not only serves as an honor for the recipient but also serves as inspiration for others hoping to gain admission to the inner bar.
Being honest and upholding professional standards both within and outside the courtroom toward the judge, coworkers, clients, and the public at large is imperative given your newfound and admirable stature.
When doing your job, you must uphold an extremely high degree of professionalism.
“It is important to remember that once a name is struck off the roll, there is no way for it to be restored. As such, you must continue to uphold the standards and qualities for which you were deemed deserving of the rank ab initio,” Fagbemi stated. “Being a privilege also means that it can be lost or taken away.”