By Ike Uchechukwu, Calabar
The Nigerian Bar Association NBA , Calabar Branch, Cross River State has faulted the inauguration of the state Judicial Service Commission, JSC, by Governor Ben Ayade.
Their position was contained in a release signed by the Chairman and Secretary of NBA Paul O. Ebiala Esq and Effiom Ayi Esq respectively.
The release which lampooned the inauguration the JSC argued that of the procedure adopted was illegal adding that the tenure of appointment of the Commission is Constitutionally five years and that the previous Commission was inaugurated on 7th June 2017.
Also , the Cross River State House of Assembly by reason of Section 198 of the Constitution and the JSC Law was supposed to have confirmed the proposed members of the Commission but this was never done.
They stressed that the purported inauguration of a new Cross River State Judicial Service Commission, CRSJSC, by the state governor, Ben Ayade was a nullity
It reads “After the emergency meeting of 29th October we reviewed the unfortunate development of the purported inauguration of ‘new’ members of the CRSJSC by Governor Ayade on the 28th of October, 2019, as well as the illegality of the action” and viewed the act “as a grave infraction of the provisions of Section 197(i)(c), 198,199(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended) as well as Sections 2, 4, 5 of the Judicial Service Commission Law, Cap 12. Vol 4 of the Laws of CRS, 2004”
“The 5-year tenure appointments of the members of the Commission which took effect from the 7th of June, 2017, having not expired, the governor cannot legally appoint new members of the Commission.
“Secondly, by the combined effects of Section 198 of the Constitution and Section 2(2) of the JSC Law, no person shall be appointed as a member of the Commission without confirmation by the State House of Assembly” just like no member can be removed “without two-third majority of the State House of Assembly.”
“Also, no such removal has been made to the association’s knowledge. So, in its avowed commitment to the Rule of Law, the branch is requesting Gov Ayade to “reverse his action and allow status quo ante bellum to remain.”
“The governor’s action is an attempt to destroy the Judiciary and any attempt to destroy the Judiciary is an attempt to destroy the society which is the last hope of the common man.
“You cannot appoint a Chairman of the JSC outside the sitting Chief Judge. This thing is constitutionally arranged and it has to be so not minding whether you like the face of the Chief Judge or not.,” they stated.