A legal practitioner, Barrister Ledum Mitee, has challenged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to find ways of filling the vacant positions existing in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, following deaths and retirement of justices of the two courts.
He said the recent inferno at the Supreme Court complex, Abuja, would not have any implication in the election petition appeals before it.
Mitee, president of the Movement for the Ogoni People (MOSOP), in Port Harcourt, said the Supreme Court is overloaded with appeals that were not supposed to be at that height, pointing out that the development has slowed down the administration of justice in the country.
The legal practitioner stated that the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, which is supposed to have seven justices, has only five.
Mitee said, “The Supreme Court itself is inundated with heavy workloads which I think is already slowing down the administration of justice.
“It is handling several appeals, including appeals that shouldn’t go up to that height.
“The circumstances may be peculiar to us; in this country, the slightest thing gets to appeal, even some that should not get to the Supreme Court at all.
“So, I think there have been vacancies in not only the Supreme Court, but also in the Court of Appeal. You will find out that for example in the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, maybe, we have just five justices when they are supposed to have at least seven.
“We have quarters for seven justices in this Court of Appeal and also have seven chambers for justices in this Court of Appeal,” he said.