Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, has stated that the executive branch of Abia State Government is not involved in the current crisis rocking the state judicial arm that culminated in the suspension of Justice Theresa Uzokwe as the state’s Chief Judge.
Responding to questions from newsmen in his office, the Commissioner stated that “there is constitutional separation of powers between the 3 arms of government and the executive branch led by Governor Ikpeazu is not interested in meddling in the affairs of the legislative or judicial arm.
“As a responsible administration, we accepted the recommendation of the house of assembly that following the suspension of the former Chief Judge by the State House of Assembly, over allegations of gross misconduct, an acting Chief Judge will need to be immediately sworn in to avoid a situation where there is total paralysis of the judiciary in the state.”
On the allegation of a rift between the former Chief Judge and the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of the state, Chief Okiyi informed newsmen that the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice is a statutory member of the State Judicial Service Commision and hence free to engage in matters involving the judiciary.
According to him, “the executive branch led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is not in anyway involved in the unfolding events with regards to Justice Uzokwe. It is purely a matter for the judiciary and the legislature to sort out and communicate to the Governor.
If she is cleared within the 7 days given by the House of Assembly and the suspension is lifted and communicated to the Governor you can be sure that the needful will be done. But in the interest of Abians there is need to ensure that the judicial arm continues to operate seamlessly, hence we accepted the recommendation to have an acting Chief Judge in place as a necessary stop gap measure.
“The Attorney General and Commssioner for Justice is a statutory member of the state judicial Service commission and acting in that capacity he is a member of the judicial branch. That should be distinguished from when he is acting as Commissioner for Justice within the executive branch.”