Senior lawyers in Cross River State have lamented the crisis faced by the state judiciary following the non-appointment of an acting or substantive Chief Judge (CJ) in the state.
Speaking to DAILY POST on behalf of the Senior Lawyers via phone on Saturday, the Chairman, Bar/Bench Forum, Calabar branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Barr (Mrs.) Rosemary Obanya, regretted the current situation in the state judiciary, particularly, the non-appointment of CJ.
Mrs. Obanya, who was the former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, said “What is happening in Cross River State Judiciary is an embarrassment, it’s an embarrassment to law profession, embarrassment to judiciary it has not happened before and it’s sad and we hope it should be resolved very soon.
“A situation whereby we have a vacuum in the office of a Chief Judge (CJ) is unconstitutional, in fact, we have constitutional crisis in our hands. Senior lawyers met with a view to finding a way forward because whenever there is a vacuum, we elect the most senior judge to take over in an acting capacity, so the Governor must appoint the next most senior judge to act in an acting capacity until when the NJC will make a recommendation,” Obanya stated.
“Because no case has been assigned, it’s embarrassing, legal year will soon come, somebody has to be there, litigants are waiting for the courts to resume sittings, lawyers are waiting, this is the lawyers’ farm and they are waiting.
“We have a vacation judge and when the case comes, it cannot be assigned, the case cannot jump to the vacation judge and it has to go to the CJ first who will then assign it to the vacation judges, right now, we have two vacation judges, one in Calabar and the other in Ikom
“It is embarrassing and we hope that the issue will be resolved soon. The senior lawyers are working on something that will not give us more problems, going to court is not the best option the issue can be resolve without litigations, It’s unfortunate, but I am sure it will be resolved very soon,” she noted