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Gombe government against my appointment as CJ, judge tells NJC

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Justice Beatrice Iliya has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over alleged plot by the Gombe State Government to stop her from becoming the state’s Chief Judge (CJ).

In a petition addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Muhammad, the female judge chronicled the alleged actions of the state government aimed at preventing her from becoming the CJ.

Entitled ‘Re-Presentation by Hon. Justice Beatrice L. Iliya in Respect of the Appointment of Chief Judge of Gombe State High Court’ dated April 21, 2020, the petitioner, among other things, accused the government of masterminding acts aimed at stopping her from becoming the CJ of Gombe.

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It read in part: “I was appointed the acting Chief Judge of Gombe State by a letter dated September 2, 2019, and pursuant to which I was sworn into office on September 4, 2019, in accordance with Section 271(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). I have served without renewal the three months provided by the constitution from September 4, 2019, to December 4, 2019.

“In its meeting of August 21, 2019, and by a letter ref. No. JSC/GMS/S/ADM/21/270 dated September 2, 2019, the Gombe Judicial Service Commission (JSC) shortlisted and forwarded my name as the preferred candidate and that of Justice Muazu Pindiga as a reserved candidate to the NJC for recommendation to the governor.”

She added that her tenure in acting capacity was not renewed on expiration and that the governor rather appointed Pindiga in an acting capacity on December 4, 2019, and renewed it on March 4, 2020.

“I was shocked to discover that while I was waiting for the re-presentation of our names after satisfying all the requirements of the NJC, the JSC headed by Justice Pindiga, on March 19, 2020, had a meeting where the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Gombe, Zubairu Umar, served as pro-tempore chairman.

“Umar wrote a memorandum to the JSC and excluded my name as a candidate to be re-submitted to the council,” she stated.

The judge, therefore, called on NJC to look into the matter and restore her as CJ.

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