The All Progressives Congress in Abia state has described the removal of the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Theresa Uzokwe by the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu as assault to judicial independence and criticized the Abia state House of Assembly for acting outside the context of law.
Addressing newsmen on Tuesday in Umuahia, the state capital, the APC chairman in the state, Honourable Donatus Nwankpa called on the State House of Assembly to institute necessary investigation panel where the suspended chief judge will be given fairhearing.
He said”,The purported suspension of Abia chief judge can be best described as legislative rascality. In the first instance, the Abia state House of Assembly acting on the provision of section 292 of the constitution of federal republic of Nigeria, acted out of context. Because the provision did not in anyway provide the suspension of a judge. The law did not give them such powers. The provision is very clear, that the governor acting on address signed by not less than two-third of the members of the House of Assembly”.
“There is this nebulous and parochial definition of misconduct. The Abia state House of Assembly has over arrogated to itself the responsibility of interpreting misconduct. Proving misconduct is a thing that envisages due process of investigation. Is a thing that must have passed through investigation and the principle of fairhearing”.
” Unfortunately, the document the Abia state House of Assembly relied upon was written by a body knowns as Global centre for Peace and Justice. An unknown body, a body that Abia state House of Assembly could not tell us whether they are registered, whether they are body corporate that have the responsibility that can also be sued and be sued. Rather, as far as Abia APC is concerned, this body is nameless. This body have only acted on speculations and street gossips”.
“We are calling on the Abia House of Assembly to properly institute the necessary investigation panel while the Chief judge will be given far hearing before any action will be taken. We are also calling on National Judicial Council(NJC) to rise up to their responsibility. Because we see the action against the chief judge as a systematic assault on judicial Independence which touches on the principle of separation of powers and principle of checks and balances”.
” It is also on record that to prove the partisan and parochial nature and rascality inherence in this action, the Abia state government part of their allegation was the APC mega rally. The rally which all know has not only disorganized PDP-led government in Abia, has created mental and psychological imbalance arising from the outcome of that rally. Which today the Abia government not only panicking, they are frustrated,they are confused and they are moving direction less”.
“So for this, we condemned the purportedly suspension of the chief Judge, Justice Uzokwe. And even the manner somebody was appointed to act as acting Chief judge, not only a breach of the law, primitive, illegal and breaches all principle of democratic process. So, we are calling on the state government that we will not tolerate any act that undermine the rights of the people”.
“The action of executive is also affront on fairhearing to the people of Abia state. It is a a direction towards anarchy. A direction towards autocracy. A direction towards lawlessness and this cannot be condoned by a party that is responsible to the people”.