Why Buhari is delaying appointment of Court of Appeal President – Presidency

Justice M. B. Dongbam-Mensem, Acting President of the Court of Appeal

The Presidency on Sunday said President Muhammadu Buhari has not sent the name of Justice M.S. Dongban-Mensem to the Senate for confirmation as the President of Court of Appeal because security and law enforcement agencies are still scrutinising her.

The President said this in obvious reaction to agitations that the name of Dongban-Mensem whose second three-month tenure as the acting president of the Court of Appeal was approved last week should be sent to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive Court of Appeal President.

There have been insinuations that President Buhari is not comfortable with Dongban-Mensem because she is a Christian from the minority area of Northern Nigeria.

But while denying this charge, the presidency, in a statement by his spokesperson on Sunday said the President is not a rubber stamp, who  will mechanistically sign off on nominees that come before him while making appointments on the recommendations of other arms or agencies of government.

He added that the president has a duty to ensure that such appointments meet the requirements of the constitution in protecting the supreme law of the land.

He added that the president has an obligation to allow law enforcement and security agencies to do their work.

“Don’t forget our recent experience with ministers who were signed off upon and turned out as having not undertaken the compulsory National Youth Service, just to give you an example.

“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.

“This is not about ethnicity or religion. It is 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.

“The president had not been a rubber stamp dealing with these matters before and is not prepared to be one at this time.

“Let all allow the system to do what is right,’’ he said.