Gombe Judge Petitions CJN, Alleges Illegal Exclusion from CJ List

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* Akpata charges council to end judicial discrimination

Justice Beatrice Iliya of the Gombe State High Court has written a protest letter to the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the exclusion of her name from the list of judges to be considered for appointment as the Chief Judge of Gombe State.

Also ahead of today’s interview by the NJC Committee for the appointment of a Chief Judge for the Gombe State Judiciary, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata has tasked the council to stamp out discrimination in the country’s judiciary.

Akpata declared that he “expects the NJC to do the right thing”.

Akpata was reacting to the exclusion of Illiya from the list of names forwarded to the NJC for consideration as appointment for Chief Judge. Illiya had forwarded to the NBA, a copy of the petition she wrote to the NJC.

In the petition, dated November 13, addressed to the NJC Chairman and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, Justice Iliya contended that the exclusion of her name from the list sent to the NJC by the Gombe State Judicial Service Commission was a violation of the NJC directive on the appointment of a Chief Judge.

She noted that as the most senior judge on the Gombe State High Court bench, there was no justification for the JSC not to send her name to the NJC.

The judge said, “I have been reliably informed that the JSC has sent a memo to the NJC re-submitting the names of Honourable Justice Muazu A. Pindiga and Honourable Justice Joseph Ahmed Awak for appointment of the Chief Judge of Gombe State, excluding my name as the most senior judge, which is not in compliance with the directive of the NJC, following its meeting on 11th August, 2020; and the duo of Honourable Justice Muazu A. Pindiga and Honourable Justice Joseph Ahmed Awak are now being invited for an interview by the NJC Interview Committee to be conducted on the 23rd of November, 2020.

“I wish to state that the current re-nomination made by the JSC is in defiance to the directive earlier issued by the NJC on this matter.”

Justice Iliya said there was no legal or moral justification for the JSC to depart from the tradition of appointing the most senior judge as the Chief Judge.

“I humbly pray for the upright intervention of the NJC to curb the excesses of the JSC and salvage the system of administration of justice in Gombe State,” Justice Iliya stated in the letter.