CROSS RIVER, Nigeria – The Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Calabar Branch, Bar Paul Ebiala says it is unheard of that the office of a state Chief Judge will be left vacant for as long as twenty days.
He was lamenting the situation where there is no Chief Judge in Cross River State to assign cases to Judges, a situation that has lingered for over one month.
“The commencement of the new legal year actually started Monday but the normal ceremony that goes with it such as church service, parades, an inspection of the guard of honour by the Chief Judge and other activities were not done.
“The Chief Registrar issued a statement that the legal year has started but the other ceremony was postponed until further notice”
“The Chief Registrar also said 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 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
A trip around the courts reveal that litigants many of whom are old men and women, found that their case files had not been assigned.
Recall that an annual legal vacation in the state started in July with an acting Chief Judge, Justice Maurice Eneji, but the acting tenure of Justice Eneji expired on the midnight of September 2, 2020.
Eneji, who is the second-highest judicial officer in the state, cannot be reappointed for another term in an acting capacity, having acted twice without any confirmation from the National Judicial Council (NCJ).