JUDICIARY: CROSS RIVER WITHOUT A CHIEF JUDGE FOR 4 DAYS

By Jonathan Ugbal

The crisis rocking the Cross River judiciary may be far from over as that arm of government has been without a head for four days now.

The last acting Chief Judge, Justice Maurice Eneji served out the second of his acting terms of three months on September 3, 2020.

And since then, no one has filled that void which is the first time since the advent of the fourth republic in 1999 that the state will not have a head of one arm of government.

The crisis began when the House of Assembly refused to confirm Justice Akon Ikpeme with reports suggesting that the Governor, Ben Ayade had directed so in order for his ally, Justice Eneji who is junior to Ikpeme, to be appointed Chief Judge.

She was accused of neglect of duty while serving as acting Chief Judge. However, the prevailing narrative was that she was not a Cross Riverian and hence, constituted a security risk.

Her parents were from present day Akwa Ibom but she had served in the Cross River ministry of justice where she rose to the position of Director of Public Prosecution before she was nominated and subsequently sworn in as a Judge of the High Court of Cross River State.

He was sworn in on March 3, 2020 in acting capacity and was reappointed in acting capacity on June 3, 2020.

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