Monday, 9 March 2020

C'River CJ saga: Eastern Bar Forum condemn Ayade's high handedness, calls for mass protest.

In a statement signed by the EBF Chairman, S. Long Williams, the forum called on the people to embark on mass protest against this flagrant abuse of the constitution.

Below is the full press statement

The Cross River State Judiciary and the entire state is in a state of judicial conundrum. A conundrum not caused by natural events and circumstances but contrived by men who swore to uphold the constitution, abide by the rule of law and the Fundamental Principles of State Policy as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

The present state of anomie in the state started rearing its monstrous head during the tenure of the immediate past Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Michael Edem when a parallel State Judicial Service Commission was constituted and inaugurated by the Cross Rivers State Government when the tenure of the members of the subsisting Commission had not expired in flagrant breach of the constitution.

Irked by this ugly, illegal and sad development, the Nigerian Bar Association, Calabar Branch led by its Chairman, Paul Ebiala Esq. condemned in strong terms the action of the state government headed by no less a person than Prof. Ben Ayade, a Lawyer

The stand by the Calabar Branch of the NBA on the issue of the State Judicial Service Commission did not deter the Governor from proceeding with his uncanny desire to foist the present conundrum on the Cross River State Judiciary. The intention principally was to frustrate and abort the appointment of Hon. Justice Akon B. Ikpeme as the State Chief Judge even after her recommendation by the National Judicial Council

Hon Justice Akon B. Ikpeme is the most Senior Judge in the Cross Rivers State Judiciary after the retired Hon. Justice Michael Edem. By virtue of Section 271(4) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Governor lacks the powers to suo moto appoint and swear in Hon. Justice Maurice Eneji as the Acting Chief of Cross River State without the recommendation of the National Judicial Council. The action of the Cross River State Government led by Prof Ben Ayade is the nadir of irresponsibility in governance. It goes to show that men don't learn from history.

The Eastern Bar Forum condemns this action in strong terms and calls for mass protest against this flagrant abuse of the constitution. This is definitely the road to perdition for Prof. Ben Ayade who has decided to toe the path of infamy, approbium and disgrace. His penchant for breaching the constitution and violating the rights of the people of Cross River State must be halted.


S. Long Williams Esq
Chairman, Eastern Bar Forum