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Lawyers Grumble as Cobham Threaten Judges

by crossriverwatch admin

It was thumb down and murmurs by the capacity crowd this evening after the Acting Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Efiok Cobham finished his address after he administered the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance on the Chief Judge of Cross River State, The Honourable Justice Okoi Ikpi Itam at the main auditorium of the Cultural Centre, Calabar.

The Acting Governor, Mr. Cobham apparently incurred the wrath of the crowd when he suggested during his address that Judges of the High Court were antagonistic to the executive branch of government by giving judgments which are not favorable to the government.

He said “Judges should not take advantage of the principle of Separation of Powers enshrined in the Constitution as a guise to be delivering judgments against the government”. He emphasized that the principle is all about cooperation amongst the three branches not antagonism.

Mr. Cobham subtly threatened that the government would come hard on judges that continue to deliver judgments against it.

There were murmurings amongst the crowd which perceived the remark of the Acting Governor as a contradiction after the Chief Judge took his oath of office promising to administer justice to all manner of people without fear or favor, ill will or affection.

Members of the Bar present at the ceremony expressed displeasure and sadness over how the Acting Governor who is a lawyer would use such an occasion to rebuke judges and subtly threaten them.

The principle of the Separation of powers between the three branches of government, namely the executive, legislature and judiciary is one of the cornerstones of the constitutional order in the country and observers interpret the remark of the Acting Governor as an ill omen in view of the centrality of the judiciary in protecting the citizenry against government impunity and abuse of human rights.

Meanwhile, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Micheal Aniah, a lawyer blundered when he addressed the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal, Calabar, Honourable Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba as the President of the Court of Appeal.

Presently there is no President of the Court of Appeal as a result of the purported suspension of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami in September, 2011.

There is an Acting President of the Court of Appeal presently. She is Honourable Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa.

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