The Nigerian Bar Association on Tuesday commended Governor Ben Ayade for swearing-in Justice Akon Ikpeme as Chief Judge of Cross River State.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Justice Ikpeme was sworn in on Monday as the substantive CJ of Cross River State 10 months after she was rejected by the State House of Assembly.
Paul Ebiala, Chairman of the NBA, in an interview with a NAN correspondent, said the confirmation and swearing-in of Justice Ikpeme as the substantive Chief Judge of Cross River State was divine.
Ebiala commended Ayade for the swearing-in, adding: “The legal family in the state is happy for the confirmation of an excellent lady as the Chief Judge of the state.
“Today is a blessed day, particularly the day the NBA, Calabar Branch has been waiting for because we have clamoured for this over a period of one year.
“We got not just a substantive Chief Judge, but the particular person the law says is the right person and today that person has been sworn-in.
“We have high expectations.
“She has to pull the judiciary in the state together and also cooperate with the other two arms of government.
“We are confident that she is going to do a good job.”
Also contributing, Mba Ukweni (SAN), said: “We are very happy and hope to work with the new CJ to move the state and its judiciary forward.
“It is sad that we find ourselves in this kind of situation.
“For us not to find ourselves in this kind of situation again, we have to follow the rules and the constitutional provisions.
“By virtue of my position as a SAN, I have a responsibility to the legal profession, the country and our constitution.
“We are like guardians of the threshold.
“We must ensure that things are done properly.”
NAN reports that Justice Ikpeme, who was born on October 21, 1959, was first appointed Acting Chief Judge of Cross River State on December 3, 2019 to March 2, 2020.
She was however not confirmed by the State House of Assembly to serve as the substantive Chief Judge, giving room for the swearing-in of Justice Maurice Eneji and Justice Eyo Effiom-Ita, who served in acting capacities between March 2020 and January 2021.
NAN reports that when Justice Ikpeme first appeared before the state House of Assembly on March 2, 2020, her nomination was rejected as the state lawmakers said though she was married to an indigene of the state, she is from neighbouring Akwa Ibom State by birth.
The House again at its sitting of June 2, 2020 rejected Justice Ikpeme’s nomination after the National Judicial Council, for the second time, re-nominated her.
She was however confirmed by the Cross River State House of Assembly on January 28, 2021 and sworn in by Governor Ayade on Monday.