Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Court Nullifies NJC's Appointee As Rivers Chief Judge

Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday, nullified the recommendation by the National Judicial Commission (NJC) of Justice Daisy Okocha for the post of the Chief  Judge of Rivers State.
Justice Akanbi, in the proceeding  that lasted for about three hours, on who should be the substantive Chief Judge of the state, faulted the recommendation by the NJC which chose Justice Okocha, maintaining that the position of the body was “wrong, null and void.”  
 The  same Justice Akanbi had, in February, invalidated the appointment of Justice Agumagu, as the acting Chief Judge of the state and rather instructed the state governor, Honourable Rotimi Amaechi, to conform to the provisions of the constitution by ensuring that the most senior judge in the state, being Okocha, be appointed as the acting chief judge.
 Barely one hour after the judgment, the state House of Assembly screened and confirmed Justice Peter Agumagu, who had been acting in that capacity for some time, as the substantive Chief Judge of the state.
 Agumagu’s appointment was unanimously approved by 17 lawmakers of the assembly, as the Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amachree, said, “Justice PNC Agumagu is hereby confirmed as Chief Judge of Rivers State. Please, Mr Clerk, convey our resolution to His Excellency.”
 In his judgment, Justice Akanbi said the governor, who was one of the plaintiffs (others were the state Attorney-General and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), could not be compelled to accept whoever the NJC sent to him, because the governor is not a rubber stamp.
 “The letter of the National Judicial Commission of  July 2, 2013 and received on July 30, by Governor Chibuike Amaechi that only the most senior judge must be appointed contrary to the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is wrongful and null and void.
 “That the letter recommending Justice Daisy Okocha in preference to Agumagu, saying that Agumagu is not the most senior judge of the High Court is wrongful and null and void. The criteria used by NJC to disqualify Justice Agumagu are wrongful and null and void”, he said.
 He, however, refused to award any cost to the defendant, saying that they should bear it, pointing out that the plaintiffs had locus standi to institute the case.
 Reacting to the judgment, Governor Amaechi said it had maintained all along the fact that it was an error for NJC to want to take upon itself the constitutional provision or the constitutional role of the governor, noting that the constitution provided that it is the governor of a state, who appoints the Chief Judge and not NJC

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1 comment:

  1. What more should happen for people to know that the governor of rivers state is the master of his fate and the controller of his destiny when will it occur to rivers people that the truth can not be swept under the carpet, as much as I think the polity should not be over heated, the governor of rivers state is the man after God's heart, and day after day he will continually be vindicated, long live rotimi amaechi long live rivers state