A group of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and other senior lawyers led by Paul Erokoro (SAN) have chided the National Judicial Council (NJC) for continuously approving acting chief judges in the Cross River State judiciary instead of a substantive Chief Judge.
Erokoro led the voluntary group, including Mba Ukweni, Essien Andrew, Taiwo Taiwo and Chief Oyo Ita Oyo (jnr), to Calabar to inspect damage done to the property of the state judiciary and Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba’s home by hoodlums who hijacked the #ENDSARS protest.
He said: “We feel this government is waging war against our profession. Appointing a new chief judge is simple – appoint the most senior judge. The governor sent Justice Akon Ikpeme to Assembly but the lawmakers refused to endorse her appointment, and because of that we’ve been on the position of acting chief judge.
“Justice Ikpeme acted for three months, Justice Maurice Eneji acted for six months and now we have another.
We cannot allow this to continue because there is so much uncertainty and it’s creating difficulty in the judiciary’s development. Cases are not properly assigned, and are we expecting to run through the list of judges so that everybody will act?
“If the NJC cares, it should report the Assembly to the presidency; let political pressure be brought to bear so the lawmakers can do the right thing. If on the other hand, there’s actually a genuine reason the NJC, should tell us, it shouldn’t just be quiet.
We want clarity and certainty in this matter, that’s what we are asking. NJC is not saying anything, why can’t it ask concrete question, if it is convinced with the reasons given by the House of assembly.”