Cross River Assembly fails to confirm chief judge, pushes item to Monday
Amid allegation of financial inducement, the Cross River State House of Assembly, on Friday, failed to confirm the appointment of Justice Akon Ikpeme as the state’s substantive Chief Judge.
By 7 a.m., members of the public and the judiciary had stormed the Assembly, hoping that Ikpeme would be confirmed, as yesterday was her last day to function as Acting Chief Judge, but most members of the House did not show up. Some protesters were seen at the entrance of the Assembly, insisting that Ikpeme must be confirmed in the interest of the state.
It is alleged that the state’s Executive Arm of government may have greased the palms of some members with N500, 000 each not to confirm Ikpeme, since she is not the governor’s candidate. In view of this, the Judiciary Committee report could not be tabled in the tension soaked Assembly, with security men taking strategic positions to avert crisis.
Accordingly, the leadership of the House ordered the reconvening of the House on Monday, with a view to receiving the report on the confirmation of the Chief Judge from the committee.
The Judiciary committee members had screened Ikpeme on Thursday, and the report was to be presented to the House yesterday for confirmation. But members deserted the House and the Committee members were equally nowhere to be found, thus heightening tension in the state.
Briefing newsmen on the matter, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr. Francis Bassey Asukwo, who represents Odukpani State Constituency, denied any issue of bribe, saying the report was not ready.He said: “The House Committee on Judiciary report is not ready yet; so, the House cannot sit. We are conscious of the fact that we have time limitation. So, on or before Monday, the House will be reconvened to take on this matter and give it a final conclusion.”