by crossriverwatch admin
The appointment of Hon. Justice Okoi Itam as the substantive Chief Judge of Cross River State has been confirmed by the State House of Assembly.
This follows a request by the Acting Governor, Bar. Efiok Cobham via letter no DG/ CRS / S / 179 / Vol. ii / 503 dated 7th January 2013 and received by the House on January 8, 2013 forwarding the above name as nominee for confirmation as Chief Judge of the State.
Presenting the report of the committee on Judiciary Public Service Matters, Public Petitions, Human Rights and Ethics, the Chairman, Hon. Ogana Lukpata said the Acting Governor’s letter was in line with section 271 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
Hon. Lukpata recalled that in October 2013, the former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Dorothy Eyamba-Idem retired from that position consequently the most Senior Judge in the State Judiciary, Hon Okoi Ikpi Itam was appointed as Acting Chief Judge.
The Chairman of the committee observed that in any democratically elected Government, the three arms of Government, namely the Legislative, the Executive and Judiciary must be in place and be working together harmoniously for the progress of the society
He stated that the Acting Governor’s letter had noted that the structure of Government resets on a tripod and the three arms of Government are the three pillars that sustain the structure.
Hon Justice Okoi Ikpi Itam was born on 18th may 1954 in Ugep Urban in Yakurr Local Government Area. After his primary Education, he attended Community Secondary Grammar School, Ugep in 1971 and subsequently moved to University of Nsukka and obtained Bachelor of law degree and was called to bar in 1977.
He has held many prestigious positions within and outside the country which include Chairman Local Government Council election tribunal in 1991, Judge High Court of the State also in 1991, Chairman Public Funds and Property Recovery Tribunal, Cross River State 1992- 1997, Judge High Court of Gambia 2000, Judge Advocate for Gambia Armed Forces General Court Martial between 2001- 2004 Acting Chief Justice of Gambia 2002, Justice of the Gambia Court of Appeal 2003- 2004 and Chairman Presidential Commission of enquiry into the Administration activities of the auditor General of Gambia in 2001 among other prestigious positions.
The Chairman said during interaction with the nominee he was found to be intelligent and grounded to pilot the affairs of the Judiciary as chief judge of the state and subsequently recommended that the appointment be confirmed.
Making their comments during the plenary session, members stated that the appointment of Justice Ikpi Itam will usher in another era of reforms and called for a sustained relationship between the legislature and the judiciary.
The Honourable members stated that the new justice will bring about radical transformation of the judiciary and sued for the unity of the three arms of Government.
They called for the establishment of a Customary Court and designate a separate court as Public Funds and Property Recovery court and urged him to also look at the conduct of Judiciary Officers with a view of giving the judiciary a better image.
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