NJC recommends Wike’s wife for Court of Appeal, Ariwoola’s daughter-in-law for high court

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Mrs Wike

The National Judicial Council has recommended Justice Suzzette Nyesom-Wike, the wife of the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, for promotion to the Appeal Court.

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Similarly, the NJC also recommended for appointment as judges, an in-law of the FCT Minister, Lesley Nkesi Belema Wike and Victoria Oluwakemi Ariwoola, daughter-in-law of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

Recall that a former boss of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Odinkalu, had in March this year, accused the judiciary of nepotism over the listing of Nyesom Wike’s in-law and family members of some justices as potential federal high court judges.

Aside, Suzzette, the immediate past Rivers State First Lady, was listed among 21 others recommended for the appellate court. She is currently a Justice at the Rivers State High Court.

Odinkalu, who had posted on his tweeter handle (now X), stated that, “For instance, Governor Bako Lalong appointed No. 7, Buetnaan, the daughter of the president of the Court of Appeal, a judge of the High Court of Plateau State in 2021. I presume this is a transfer, but if it is, why is it being reported as a new appointment?

“Governor Nyesom Wike appointed No. 11, his in-law, a Senior Magistrate in Rivers State last year. I guess the Chief Justice of the FCT High Court is fulfilling his own side of the bargains he reached when he visited Wike last year…?

A statement from the council stated that the recommendation came under the National Judicial Council, during its 105th plenary meeting held between May 15 and 16, 2024.

“All recommended candidates are expected to be sworn in after the approval of the NJC recommendations to the President and their respective State

Governors,” said the council’s Director of Information, Soji Oye, in a statement dated May 16, 2024.

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