By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Ben Ayade Monday in Calabar swore in 3 new Justices into the state high court following their clearance by the National Judicial Commission (NJC).
The swearing in according to the Secretary to the State Government, Tina Agbor is in line with section 271 sub section 2 of the 1999 constitution which empowers the NJC to nominate judges for swearing in after studying the names presented to it.
Presenting the new judges, Ukpai Abba Ibitham Esq, Eno Ikpi Ebri Esq, and Ayade Emmanuel Ayade Esq, who is also a cousin of the governor, the state Chief Judge, Justice Okoi Ikpi Itam said the appointments which were made on February 24, 2016 followed a tedious process that was made easier by the governor or only one Judge would have been sworn out of the around 210 applicants that indicated interest.
The governor while swearing them in, in his remarks said the event signalled a new horizon in the administration of justice in the state and charged the new judges to support the state within the “limits of reason and within the ambits of the law.”
Describing the judiciary as the last hope of the poor man that represents the highest arm of governance in the true sense of the word, “because that is the calibrating point where humanity and animals are separated, where justice, fairness and equity are key.”
Ayade also said, “It is my hope that as you get into this high opportunity, you must recognize the values of Africa, the values of honor, the value of justice, the value of integrity, the value of character.”
The governor who charged the new judges to be God fearing as their lifestyle will reflect whatsoever they offer to the bench according to Kantian kinetics, also averred that, “The state requires your support because it is facing a very challenging moment at this point in time particularly from the economic point of view. We therefore will be calling on you from time to time to add value to the governance process. We from the executive arm don’t know it all, so we also must create opportunity to interact with the judiciary and the legislature alike so we can have a synergy that can make Cross River State a better state for all of us.”
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Honorable Justice Ukpai Ibitham said they will give their best in the administration of justice and the interpretation of the law in order to justify the numerous sacrifices made by the governor, state chief judge, colleagues and family members.
Until their appointments as Judges of the Cross River State High Court, Ukpai Abba Ibitham who hails from Etono Central in Biase local government area was a senior state counsel 1 in the State Justice Ministry.
Eno Ikpi who hails from Ugep in Yakurr local government area was a private practitioner while Ayade Emmanuel who hails from Kakum in Obudu local government area, was a prosecutor at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission.
The event which held at the Executive Council Chambers of the governor’s office was attended by the Deputy Governor, Prof Ivara Esu, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. John Lebo, the State Chief Judge, Justice Okoi Itam, a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice W. S Ononghe who was represented by his wife, Nkoyo Onoghe, the SSG, Commissioners and numerous aides to the governor, Judges of the High Court, Traditional Leaders, wives of the new Judges and a host of others.
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