By Jonathan Ugbal
The new legal year for the Cross River judiciary began on Monday without the usual pomp and pageantry.
This is because there is a vacancy in the administrative court where the Chief Judge sits.
The State has been without a Chief Judge for 20 days now due to differences between the Governor, House of Assembly and the Nigerian Judicial Council.
And, legal practitioners are not finding it easy as cases will not be assigned reports the DailyNews Newspapers.
“The commencement of new legal year actually started Monday but the normal ceremony that goes with it such as Church service, parades, inspection of guard of honour by the Chief Judge and other activities were not done,” said Mr. Paul Ebiala, Chairman of the Calabar branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.
“The Chief Registrar issued a statement that the legal year has started but the other ceremony were postponed till further notice,” Ebiala noted, adding that: “We are still in that quagmire; assignment of cases will not be done by anybody other than a Chief Judge or acting chief judge.
“What will happen now is that the cases that are pending and that had been assigned will be attended to but the new cases that have been filed are the ones that will be affected because they will not be assigned by anybody for now.”
An annual legal vacation in the state started in July during the second acting term of Justice Maurice Eneji. This elapsed on the midnight of September 2, 2020.
The NJC had last year recommended Justice Akon Ikpeme as substantive Chief Judge but, the Assembly refused to confirm her with report suggesting she was not the preferred nominee of Governor Ben Ayade.
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