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Published On: Mon, Jun 2nd, 2014

Rivers alleges NJC plot to appoint chief judge

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By Yakubu Yaki with agency report

The Rivers State Government has raised an alarm over an alleged “surreptitious move by the National Judicial Council, (NJC) to privately appoint, through the back door, Justice Daisy Wotube OKOCHA as the Chief Judge of Rivers state and then direct all the Judges of the state’s judiciary to accept directives and instructions from the said Judge in that capacity.”

The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Ibim Semenitari, who made this assertion in a statement at the weekend, that the alleged moved by the NJC is “clearly against the Judgment of the Federal High Court, which voided NJC’s recommendation of this same Judge.

She said, “The NJC, to disguise its disrespect for the Law and give the impression that it is acting within the Law, has planned to christen the said Justice Daisy Wotube OKOCHA as an ‘Administrative Judge’ with powers to perform the functions of the Chief Judge especially the assignment of cases.”

The state has however expressed it determination to resist the move.

”Rivers State Government wishes to state that it shall administratively and legally use all ways and means known to law, including its powers under the Constitution and all other extant laws, to resist the over-arching desire and attempts by some politicians in the NJC, who hope to use their membership of the NJC to hijack the Rivers state Judiciary for their Group’s political ends while pretending to be politically neutral.

“Finally, the Rivers State Government, which holds the NJC, as a body, in high esteem especially because its members are eminent members of the Learned Profession of Law, however, is constrained to call on Nigerians to hold the Body and its leadership solely responsible for any break down of Law and Order which its planned-intermeddling with the administration of Justice in Rivers State shall inexorably occasion” Mrs Semenitari said.

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