Group of clergies under the aegis of Concerned Gospel Ministers in Cross River, have urged National Judicial Commission (NJC) not to confirm Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State nominee, Justice Maurice Eneji as acting Chief Judge of the State.
In a communiqué issued and signed by the Chairman Arch-Bishop Archibong Archibong and Secretary Rev. Okoi E. I. Okoi, the body said at the end of the enlarge emergency meeting in Calabar, that the National Judicial Council should not as a matter of principle recognise Justice Maurice Eneji as the acting Chief Judge of the State.
“The National Judicial Council should not as a matter of principle, justice and morality recognise Justice Maurice Eneji acting Chief Judge or substantive Chief Judge of Cross River State and should take steps to restore peace to Cross River Judiciary and believe in our judicial officers as a bastion of hope.
“Since Hon. Justice Akon Ikpeme was screened by the Department of State Services (DSS) and other relevant services without any form of indictment, or blemish, there is no way Justice Ikpeme could constitute a security risk as postulated by the House of Assembly.
“Using ethnicity as a reason to disqualify Hon. Justice Ikpeme is the height of injustice on a woman who is married to a Cross Riverian, and served the Cross River State meritoriously. Using security risk reasons to deprive Justice Ikpeme of her constitutional right is an act of wickedness on a loyal Cross Riverian who for many years had toiled for enhancement of Cross River State Judiciary without any state stain or blemish.
“The non-confirmation of Justice Akon Ikpeme as substantive Chief Judge is a bad precedent which could affect many generations of not only Cross River people but other Nigerians generally. The rejection of Justice Ikpeme has tacitly injected the venom, fear, hate, distrust and uncertainty into the women married to Cross Riverian, this alone has threatened the fabric of marital relationship of and could lead to broken homes.
“The decision of the House of Assembly could work against the existing cross-border marriages in the future thereby negating principle of mutual co-existence and relationship between Cross River and it neighbours.”
The clergies observed with dismay that the constitutional lacuna foisted on the state by the legislature on the 3rd month of Justice Akon Ikpeme’s Acting appointment was deliberately last day designed to install injustice in the process of appointment of a substantive chief judge of Cross River State. The temple of justice cannot be administered by injustice.
“We, therefore, submit that since the reason given by the house for justice Ikpeme’s rejection were not cogent, the state government should withdraw the appointment of Hon. Justice Maurice Eneji as acting Chief Judge and swear in Justice Akon Ikpeme in the spirit of fairness, justice and humanity which his Excellency, Gov Ben Ayade advocates.”
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