Posted by News Express | 6 June 2014 | 4,231 times
The controversy over appointment of Rivers State Chief Judge has taken a new dimension as Governor Chibuike Amaechi has directed the stoppage of salaries of judicial workers in the state in reaction to the directive of the National Judicial Council (NJC) that Justice Daisy Okocha becomes Administrative Judge of the state pending the appointment of a substantive Chief Judge.
Amaechi and NJC have been at daggers-drawn following his insistence to appoint Justice Peter Agumagu as the state Chief Judge. NJC has since announced Agumagu’s suspension.
In a letter dated June 5, 2014 and jointly signed by Ngozi Y. Abu (Accountant-General of Rivers State and Dagogo R. Abere (Director, Treasury, Office of the Accountant-General), the Rivers State Government instructed the General Manager, Zenith Bank Plc, Plot 1/2, Presidential Estate, Aba Road Port Harcourt to stop the payment of the May salaries and allowances of judiciary workers until further notice.
The letter stated: “Sequel to the directive of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, we write to request your bank to stop May 2014 salaries of all staff of Rivers State Judiciary till further notice,” warning: “Strict compliance in this respect is solicited. “
NJC’s Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, had, after a meeting on May 27, said that the council considered the pains and frustrations, which the Rivers State Judiciary and litigants in the state were facing, following the vacuum created by the absence of a substantive or acting Chief Judge in the state. He said that the council, therefore, directed that the most senior judge in the state should fill the vacuum as Administrative Judge of the state.
But in response to the NJC’s directive, the Rivers State Government, through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Wogu Boms, and the Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ibim Seminatari, lampooned the council. On Monday, June 2, warned staff of the judiciary not to have anything to do with Justice Daisy Okocha or risk sanctions including dismissal.
•Adapted from a Daily Sun report. Photo shows Governor Amaechi.
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