Ahead of Monday’s interview by the National Judicial Council (NJC) Committee for the appointment of a Chief Judge for the Gombe State Judiciary, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata has declared that he “expects the NJC to do the right thing”.
Akpata made the declaration in a telephone interview with Channels Television on Sunday,
Akpata was reacting to news reports that the Gombe State Government had excluded the name of the most senior judge in the state, Justice Beatrice Illiya from the list of names forwarded to the NJC for consideration as appointment for Chief Judge.
Justice Illiya herself had written a petition to the NJC to complain about this exclusion and had copied the NBA in the petition.
In her petition, the most senior judge said that after the retirement of Hon Justice Hakila Herman, she was appointed as the Acting Chief Judge of Gombe State but after the mandatory 3 months provided by the constitution, Governor Inuwa Yahaya refused to extend her tenure.
Instead, another judge of the State, Justice Muazu Pindiga was appointed and his three months tenure as acting Chief Judge has been renewed for the fourth time because the executive has refused to do the right thing.
In August 2020, when the NJC directed the Gombe State Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to re-submit the names of the nominees for appointment as substantive Chief Judge of Gombe State by doing the right thing and including the name of the most senior judge, Justice Beatrice Illiya, the State JSC defied the directive, arguing that seniority is not a factor to be considered in the appointment of a Chief Judge of a State.
Justice Beatrice Illiya says she is being discriminated against because she is female and Christian.
The NBA President who was copied in the petition has however declared that the NJC at its meeting on Monday would do the right thing and insist on the appointment of the most senior judge of the state.