Paul Erokoro, SAN
By Ike Uchechukwu
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Paul Erokoro has asserted that it was high time the National Judicial Council reported the Cross River State House of Assembly to the presidency following the impasse that has ensued in the leadership of the Judiciary in the state.
Erokoro who made the assertion while speaking with journalist in Calabar said there was no State House of Assembly in Nigeria that doesn’t work in tandem with the governor adding that as far as he knows the only the Chief Judge issue has been the only one they have had to disagree with the governor.
He further stated that if the NJC cared, they would report the CRSHA to the Presidency and allow political pressure to be brought to bear on the matter.
His words: “We said earlier that we feel that this government is waging war against our profession, the process of appointing a new chief judge is very simple, and it’s to appoint the most senior judge.
“The governor sent the name of the most senior judge, Honorable Justice Akon Ikpeme to state house of assembly and they refused to endorse her appointment and because of that, we’ve been on the position of acting chief judge for about one year now.
“Akon Ikpeme acted for three months, Maurice Eneji acted and now we have another. We cannot allow this to continue because there is too much uncertainty and it’s creating difficulty in the development of the judiciary.
“Cases are not being properly assigned and are we expecting that we will run through the list of judges in Cross River state so that everybody will act? The state house of assembly has refused to endorse the most senior judge, let it be noted that this will be the only issue as far as I know the state house of assembly is disagreeing on with the Governor.
“We want a substantive chief judge in the state and all those who are involved including the National Judicial Council should understand that this impact has gone on for too long,” he said.
Speaking further, Ekoroko said that there was need for clarity by the NJC stressing that they shouldn’t just keep quiet because there was need for certainty on the matter with a view to moving the Judiciary forward.
He said: “If the National Judicial Council cares it will report the state assembly to the presidency, let political pressure be brought to bare in the state house of assembly to do the right thing.
“If on the other hand, there’s actually a genuine reason, the NJC should come out and tell us, they shouldn’t just be quite. We want clarity and certainty in this matter, that is what we are asking.
“NJC is not saying anything, why can’t they ask concrete question, if the NJC is convinced, with the reasons given by the state house of assembly, they should say so.
“Lawyers don’t speculate, we deal with the fact as they are, all we want are result but we don’t want any dangerous rumours floating around because there are unhealthy,” he submitted.