1 January 2013

Nigeria: Gov Nyako Appoints Acting Chief Judge

Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako has sworn in Justice Nathan Musa as the acting Chief Judge of Adamawa State amid protests by opposition groups in the party.

Opposition groups have earlier predicted that Governor Nyako was poised to appoint an acting Chief Judge in the state who will be used as a tool in thwarting their efforts at conducting party congresses which kick started on December 27.

The spokesman of the Adamawa State stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Umar Ardo, at a press conference held at Professor Jubril Aminu's residence on Sunday, said that the group was aware of moves by Governor Nyako to appoint an acting Chief Judge through the back door.

Dr. Umar said in a desperate attempt to engage the judiciary to stall democratic processes in the state, the governor was desperate to appoint an acting Chief Judge which was a violation of Section 271 Subsection 1 of the Nigerian constitution which states that: judicial officer is a career progressive appointment based on seniority on the bench unless such a judicial officer is manifestly unable to discharge his or her responsibility, such an officer cannot be sidelined in favor of a junior officer."

Dr Umar Ardo further said that the appointment of an acting CJ suggested that there was more to the appointment than meet the eyes.

He said "such an appointment is not only unconstitutional but a direct disregard to the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the Federation Maryam Alooma Mukthar." He said that the Chief Justice of the Federation, wrote a letter to the state governor which specifically requested the governor to forward the name of Justice Bathimawus Popo Lawi being the most senior justice of Adamawa State for appointment as substantive Chief Justice of the state and to forward to her office the date of his confirmation and swearing in. According to him, this singular act is an attempt by the governor at ensuring the appointment of a surrogate Judge to thwart the course of justice in Adamawa State specifically coming at this critical time of the PDP transformation at scuttling the current PDP democratic process in Adamawa State.

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