Appeal Court in the country is said to have determined 1,769 appeals and disposed 3,517 motions from January to April, 2019.
This was contained in the summary of cases in the Court of Appeal Divisions by Barr. Adaeze Oby Aziwe, the Head, Legal Services Unit, and made available to the Media Officer of the Court.
According to Awiwe, “In the document, a total of 2,397 appeals and 5,120 motions were filed during the period under review.
‘Similarly, reports filtering in from the office of the DCR, Court of Appeal, Election Petition Tribunal, Mrs. Rabi Abdulazeez Yakubu, Esq say that a total of 800 petitions were filed as at June 17, 2019.
”A breakdown of this figure shows that, State House of Assembly recorded the highest figure of 415, Senate 105, House of Representatives 214, Governorship 62 and Presidential 4 Petitions.
“According to the facts sheets emanating from the 77 Election Petition Tribunals setup by the President of the Court of Appeal as at April 23, 2019, 65 petitions were either dismissed or struck out while 735 petitions are pending,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, President of the Court of Appeal, has cancelled this year’s annual vacation for appellate court justices, saying her decision was informed by enormous petitions that arose from the 2019 general elections.
Bulkachuwa said it had become obvious that Court of Appeal Judges have to forfeit their annual vacation “to enable us entertain and determine all appeals arising from the various Election Petition Tribunals transmitted to the Court”.
A statement signed by the head of media at the court, Saadatu Musa, stated that Justice Bulkachuwa conveyed her decision to the justices via a two-paged circular transmitted to them on July 2.
“Justice Bulkachuwa noted that since these appeals were time-bound, and would arise within the period of the court’s vacation on July-October, the need therefore arises for them to be heard and determined within the said period.
“To enable the Court meet these targets, the President of the Court of Appeal gave explicit directives to the Presiding Justices of the various Divisions to draw up a roaster in consultation with His Lordship to allow the Justices with medical appointments or other pressing family issues travel for not more than 15 days within the period.
”The roaster that would be drawn should be arranged in such a manner that at any given time, there is a three-member panel on ground in every division to hear and determine appeals.
“In Divisions with three Justices, only one Justice can travel at a time and the office of the President of the Court of Appeal, is to be immediately notified to form a panel in that Justice’s absence should the need arise the circular further directed.
“According to Justice Bulkachuwa, appeals arising from the National and State Assemblies would be heard by a local panel of three (3) members except where it is controversial, then the President will constitute and send another panel to hear it.
“On the Governorship appeals, the President of the Court of Appeal stated that it would be heard by a five (5) Member panel to be empaneled by his lordship. Hon. Justice Bulkachuwa therefore, instructed the Presiding Justices to notify him as soon as appeals from Governorship elections were filed to ensure their speedy determination.”