At last, Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade would on Monday, February 8 swear in Justice Akon Bassey Ikpeme as the second female Chief Judge (CJ) of the state.
A statement issued yesterday in Calabar and signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tina Banku Agbor, indicated that the event would take place at the Executive Council chambers of the Governor’s Office at 10am.
It accordingly invited the Speaker and members of the state House of Assembly, members of the state executive council and the judiciary to the event.
Since the retirement of Justice Michael Edem in November 2019, the state has remained without a substantive chief judge following the disagreement between the state government and the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The NJC wanted due process followed and the most senior Judge appointed as chief judge, while the state government wanted its favourite candidate, a junior Judge, to emerge.
After much pressure and insistence of the NJC, Agbor, in a letter to the Assembly, said: “By Section 271(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I am directed to forward the name of Justice Akon Bassey Ikpeme for confirmation by the House as Chief Judge of Cross River State in the State Public Service.
“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request Mr. Speaker and members to please grant the consequential confirmation of the nominee for formal appointment as Chief Judge of Cross River State in the State Public Service.”
In a brief sitting that lasted less than an hour, the House unanimously confirmed Justice Ikpeme as the substantive chief judge of the state.
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