Legal luminary Afe Babalola has urged the government to appoint senior advocates as judges in Nigerian courts.
Mr Babalola explained that it was important to review the process for appointment of judges, stressing that “in the past, appointments to the bench were by invitation, only based on the competence and integrity of the lawyers appearing before the courts.
”It has been acknowledged that the best judges are seasoned, tested, and competent legal practitioners. It was then an abomination to invite applications for the post of a judge,” the lawyer stated.
He further asserted, ”In England, seasoned Queen’s Counsels, the equivalent of our Senior Advocates, are invited to the bench. Unlike what obtained in the 60’s and 70’s when we had few Senior Lawyers, Nigeria can now boast of hundreds of seasoned Senior Advocates today.
”I, therefore, suggest that we should borrow a leaf from England by inviting eminent SANs to the bench at high courts, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court levels in order to improve the quality of the Judges in our courts.
”After all, the late Hon. Justice Taslim Olawale Elias (SAN), the late Hon. Justice Augustine Nnamani (SAN), and until recently, Hon Justice Safiya Babamasi Umar (SAN) were examples per excellence of what to expect when we appoint seasoned Senior Advocates to the bench.”