Top News

Uproar As C’River Assembly Again Rejects Justice Ikpeme as Chief Judge

... As NJC Extends Eneji's Tenure For Another 3 Months



From Etim Bassey, Calabar

There is palpable concern as the Cross River State House of Assembly again rejects the letter from National Judicial Council ( NJC) requesting the confirmation of Justice Akon Ikpeme as the substantive chief judge.


Justice Ikpeme was appointed acting chief judge on December 2, 2019 for three months and on March 2, 2020, the House refused to confirm her as substantive CJ on the flimsy excuse that she is a ‘security risk’.


In her place, Justice Maurice Eneji was appointed acting chief judge on March 2, 2020 and after that, the NJC in a letter dated May 20, 2020 re-presented Justice Ikpeme for confirmation and she was for the second time rejected by the state.


The rejection was as a result of the second NJC’s letter transmitted to the House by Governor Ben Ayade asking for second confirmation of Justice Akon Ikpeme as the chief judge.


RELATED: The Ugly Normalcy of Ethnic Bias in Nigeria


The governor had in a letter dated May 29, 2020 and signed by the secretary to the state government, Hon Tina Agbor, Esq, urged the House to treat the attached letter from NJC with “urgency and ensure that there is no vacuum created in the judiciary.”


Shortly after the clerk had read the correspondence from the governor, the leader, Hon Peter Odey, representing Ogoja State Constituency, moved a motion saying, “having read the letter from the NJC via the governor, I move that we accept it as a working document of the House but maintain that we cannot reverse ourselves in this matter.”


The House without any further debate and through a voice vote rejected NJC’s request again.


Against this backdrop, the NJC approved the extension of Justice Maurice Eneji’s tenure as stated in a letter to the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, dated May 29, 2020 and signed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Dr I.T. Muhammed.


It states: “The extension of Justice Eneji’s appointment shall take effect from June 3, 2020 and end on September 2, 2020 in accordance with the provisions of Section 217(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.


“Consequently, His Excellency the governor, Sir Ben Ayade, has approved the extension of the appointment of Justice Eneji as the state acting chief judge by three months.”


Recall that the House in a Resolution No 45 sent to the government of Cross River State and signed by the clerk of the House, Elder Bassey Ekpenyong, had rejected her Lordship, Justice Akon Ikpeme, as substantive chief judge after acting for three months.


According to the House, throughout the period of her acting appointment, she was more concerned about the politics surrounding her confirmation and other irrelevant issues at the detriment of other official matters.


The resolution with ref: HA/ CRS / S/60/VOL .X/ 347 dated March 2, 2020 and made available to newsmen stated that after the deliberations on the grievous allegations, the House “agreed that any appointment to the Office of the Chief Judge of the state should be confirmed for persons of unquestionable character and in overall interest of peace and security of the state.”

Related Articles

Back to top button