President Muhammadu Buhari has finally succumb to reason by eventually sending the nomination of Her Lordship, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, Acting President, Court of Appeal to the Senate for confirmation as President, Court of Appeal.
This was coming at the heels of recent intense media campaigns and agitations by Nigerians over the lingering appointment of Justice Dongban-Mensem as President Court of Appeal.
Spokesman for the Presidency, Garba Shehu announced this in a press statement this evening at the Aso Rock Villa. The statement adds that,” Justice Dongban-Mensem is a serving Justice of the Court of Appeal and was recommended, as is the practice, by the National Judicial Council for the nomination by the President”.
Justice Mensem’s nomination was coming few days after President Buhari had extended the protem appointment of Monica Dongban-Mensem as the president of the court of appeal without formalizing her position as substantive head of the appellate court with effect from June 3 for a further period of three (3) months.
The move obviously did not go down well with Nigerians thus sparking a wave of discourse about the possible fate of Justice Dongban-Mensem and insinuations that the administration was already scheming a possible replacement for her in favour of the next in line after her who is a northern Muslim in the person of Mohammed Lawal Garba, and who chaired the 2019 presidential election petitions tribunal that upheld the election of President Muhamadu Buhari at the Court of Appeal to replace her.
One such voices which openly waned President Buhari against the possible move of replacing Justice Dongban Mensem was that of Abubakar Umar Dangiwa, a retired colonel and former military governor of Kaduna State. Dangiwa flayed Buhari in a widely circulated and strongly worded letter pointing out that his “lopsided appointments will ruin Nigeria”.
It will be recalled that Citizensnewsroom had published an article titled: “Like Justice Monica Dongban Mensem Like Former Chief Justice Onnoghen?” in which it warned that given the profane antecedent of the Buhari-led government in the area of appointments, a somewhat similar ploy such as the one used to orchestrate the downfall of former Chief Justice Onnoghen may already be in the offing this time against the person of Justice Monica Mensem.
But in a swift response, Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said Mr. Buhari was not a ‘rubber stamp’ and would await relevant security clearance before confirming Mrs. Dongban-Mensem for the position.
“In the specific case of the Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Her Lordship Justice M. S Dongban-Mensem, the statutory regulatory time of her acting period has not lapsed,” Mr. Shehu wrote.
“This is not about ethnicity or religion. It about security and law enforcement agencies being allowed to complete their work. Nobody should seek to stampede the President in carrying out his constitutional duty in this respect,” he added.