By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Enugu State government has announced a new Acting Chief Judge, Justice Ngozi Emehelu following the suspension of former Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike by the National Judicial Council (NJC) and his subsequent compulsory retirement by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Speaking during the swearing in if the new Acting Chief Judge, Governor Ugwuanyi said the action was necessitated by last week’s recommendation for the compulsory retirement of the now former Chief Judge by the NJC.
Emehelu was sworn-in after an oath of office administered on her by the state’s Solicitor-General, Victor Emeribe.
The Governor said Emehelu’s swearing-in was consistent with Section 271 (4) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
“If the office of the chief judge of a state is vacant, or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office… the governor of the state shall appoint the most senior judge of the high court to perform those functions”.
Governor Ugwuanyi further stated that he had received two letters recommending the former chief judge’s suspension and compulsory retirement from office.
“Accordingly, Hon. Justice Ngozi Priscilla Emehelu, the most senior judge of the High Court of Enugu State, has been appointed and sworn-in as the acting chief judge of Enugu State,” Governor Ugwuanyi noted at the event held at the state’s Executive Council Hall.
The acting chief judge in her response attributed her appointment to providence and pledged to carry out the responsibilities of her new office to the best of her abilities and with the fear of God.
She was appointed high court judge in 1998 and had previously been Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Enugu State.