6 November 2012

Nigeria: State of Origin Denies Justice Jombo-Ofo Lift to Appeal Court

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Aloma-Mukhtar stepped down the swearing-in Justice Ifeoma Jombo-Ofo as a Justice of the Court of Appeal, yesterday and explained that there was a petition against her regarding her state of origin.

Ifeoma is by birth from Anambra and married to a man from Abia state.

A list of 12 Justices was initially released by the Supreme Court for the swearing ceremony with the inclusion of Justice Ifeoma Jombo-Ofo's name.

The irony was that Ifeoma, who was called to bar in 1979, got married to Mr Jombo-Ofo and was thereafter appointed a High Court judge on November 4, 1998 as representing Abia state after she had served for many years in her husband's state.

The announcement of her elevation to the appeal court alongside eleven others drew the ire of some indigenes of Abia state.

A source close to the apex court indicated that a petition was forwarded to the CJN alleging that Justice Jombo-Ofo did not disclose the real fact of her state of origin.

The petitioner claimed that originally she is from Anambra state and subsequently transferred her service from her home state to her husband's state of Abia.

Not even a spirited effort by Abia state governor, Theodore Orji, could save the day for Justice Jumbo-Ofo. The governor had written a letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria last Saturday confirming the indigeneship of Justice Jumbo-Ofo who had served in the Abia state Judiciary for the last 14 years and also affirmed that her name was indeed sent by the state government as one of the state's candidates for elevation to the appellate court.

Governor Orji urged the CJN to disregard any spurious petition or allegation against her and swear her in.

But an Abuja based legal practitioner who did not want to be mentioned in the print said that Justice Mary Odili was elevated to the Supreme Court on the ticket of her State of birth Imo.

He added that the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Nweala, who is a native of Delta State, was appointed a minister on her husband's state ticket, Abia.

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