Judicial functions crippled in Cross River as lawyers lament lack of authority to assign cases

CROSS RIVER, Nigeria – Official functions in the Cross River State Judiciary have been crippled as there is no State Chief Judge to assign cases to various courts and Judges in the State since the tenure of the acting Chief Judge expired five days ago.

Speaking  on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Calabar Branch, Dr. Paul O. Ebiala regretted the non-appointment of substantive State Chief Judge

He said the absence of the Chief Judge of the State portends danger and not a healthy development for the state.

He noted that it was unprecedented in the history of the Judiciary in Cross River State to be without a Chief Judge

“The absence of the Judiciary in Cross River State is like shutting down the system completely, it is just like having a State but no Governor.

“A State that has no governor is shut down completely, the Judiciary that has no Chief Judge is also shut down completely. A similar thing applies to the House of Assembly.

“In the case of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, we have a Deputy Speaker and we also have a Deputy Governor but in the case of Chief Judge, there is no Deputy,” he said.

“Once the Chief Judge is not there, the entire activities of Judiciary are crippled, we talk about the assignment of cases, there will be nobody to assign cases, nobody to attend to official or administrative matters

“We have condemned the non-appointment of the substantive Chief Judge, and we are saying whatever needs to be done should be done immediately for the Chief Judge to occupy that office

“We would have gone to court and compelled whosoever has work to do in respect of the appointment of Chief Judge, but we cannot because nobody can assign cases.

“It’s as bad as that, we can’t even go to court because there is no court even the vacation court that is supposed to be sitting cannot do that because there is no person to assign cases which would have been done by the Chief Judge, that is how bad it is, you cannot go to court to ask for an order, you cannot do anything.

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