– Centre for Public Accountability (COA) has urged NJC to wade into the crisis generated by the appointment of Gombe chief judge
– Olufemi Lawson, the executive director of the COA, said there was a violation of the constitution in the appointment of the acting chief judge for the state
– The group also warned against leaving the appointment of the chief judge in the hands of politicians
The Centre for Public Accountability (COA) has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the appointment of the Gombe state chief judge.
Legit.ng reports that the group said the state judicial commission appointed the new chief judge, Justice Mua’zu A Pindiga, in violation of section 271 subsection 4 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended).
In a petition signed by the executive director of the COA, Olufemi Lawson, the group alleged that Justice Beatrice Illiya was prevented from assuming the position of the state’s chief judge because of her ethnicity and religion.
COA emphasised that Justice Pindiga is a junior officer to Justice Beatrice Illiya according to the state judicial hierarchy, adding that his nomination deserves to be thrown out by the commission.
Lawson added that the appointment of the chief judge should not be left in the hands of politicians, alleging that the case of the Gombe state judiciary is an attempt to impose a burden of credibility on the NJC.
“Our organization has for several months, keenly observed, the unconstitutional decision, of the Gombe state government, to prevent Honorable Justice Beatrice Illiya from assuming the position of the state’s chief judge, in a manner which clearly violates the known conventions and our laws, especially as it is supervised by your noble National Judicial Council (NJC).
“We wish to state unequivocally, that the continued refusal of the Gombe state government to allow Honorable Justice Beatrice Illiya is premised on the major reasons of her religion, gender and her Tangale-Waja ethnic background to be denied life long dream having rose to such a noble height in her carrier.”
The group also accused the state governor, Inuwa Yahaya, of attempting to control the judiciary by appointing Pindiga as the number one judicial officer in the state.
COA noted that it has a strong belief in the commitment of the NJC towards protecting the sanctity of the judiciary and by extension, Nigeria’s democracy.
The group, however, said that it was disturbed by the worrying tendency of some state governments to truncate the seniority hierarchy in the appointment of chief judges.
COA also added:
“The recent cases of Kebbi state involving Honorable Justice Elizabeth Karatu and that of the Cross River state where the governor arbitrarily prevented the appointment of Justice Akon Ikpeme before the intervention of your great commission, are just a few that we wish to remind you.
“We believe that the NJC, will in the present situation stand firmly to be seen as being fair to all, and reject the impression, that it is leaving our women judges, to be vulnerable to political manipulations and machinations of these states executives.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that eight Supreme Court judges were on Friday, November 6, sworn in by Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad.
It was reported that Justice Muhammad presided over the swearing-in ceremony in Abuja on Friday, a report from Punch claims.
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