FIDA Petitions NJC, CJN over Gombe CJ’s Appointment

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By Alex Enumah

The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has joined the fight against alleged women discrimination in the country, with a call on the National Judicial Council (NJC) not to bow to the wish of the Gombe State Government in the appointment of a substantive Chief Judge for the state.

FIDA, which made the call in a petition to the NJC, lamented what it termed recurring discriminatory actions against female law practitioners in some parts of the country, and vowed to resist the application of such if it applied in the selection of a substantive Chief Judge for Gombe State.

FIDA, while expressing worry over what it described as deep-seated discrimination against female lawyers, especially in the northern part of the country, advised the NJC not to succumb to “such anachronistic and discriminatory antics.”

In a petition forwarded to the NJC, which was signed by its Country Vice-President, Rhoda Tyoden, and National Secretary, Evelyn Membere-Asimiea, FIDA drew the attention of the NJC, particularly, its Chairman and Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Mohammed, to what they described as serious infractions by the Gombe State Judicial Service Commission, where a female judge, Justice Beatrice Iliya, is about to be denied elevation as Chief Judge of the state, ostensibly because of her gender.

FIDA reminded the NJC that Justice Iliya, who is the most senior judge in the state judiciary, was appointed acting Chief Judge instead of confirming her as the substantive Chief Judge upon the expiration of her acting capacity, but two other judges have been nominated and a far junior judge appointed as acting Chief Judge of the state.

“We, therefore, appeal that the policies and rules of this committee guide the recommendation of persons to be appointed judicial officers, and to call to order state executive heads to desist from all discriminatory actions in the appointment of judicial officers, especially the position of Chief Judge.

“This brazen injustice that is gaining grounds in most states against female judges, who have worked hard and diligently to deserve an elevation, is not in the interest of justice, and it’s tarnishing the reputation of the judiciary.

“FIDA, therefore, call on your intervention in the case of the appointment of the Chief Judge of Gombe State, and stop the gender discriminatory act of the state governor and injustice against Justice Iliya of the state judiciary,” they stated.