A Civil Society Organisation, Centre for Public Accountability (CPA), yesterday petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the failure of the governor of Gombe State, Inuwa Yahaya, to appoint Justice Beatrice Illiya, as substantive chief judge of the state. According to a copy of the petition sighted by journalists and signed by the Executive Director of the organisation, Femi Lawson, the CPA stated that the desperation had been extended with the appointment of Justice Mua’zu Pindiga as a replacement, in a clear violation of Section 271, sub-section 4 of the 1999 Constitution (Amended). It stated that for clarity purpose, Justice Pindiga was a junior officer to Justice Illiya The petition reads in part: “We wish to state unequivocally, that the continued refusal of the Gombe State government to allow Justice Beatrice Illiya is premised on the major reasons of her religion (Christianity) and her gender, being a woman and having risen to such a noble height in her career.” CPA said according to the state judicial hierarchy, Illiya is the most senior official who ought to step into the office of the chief judge, adding that the nomination of Pindiga deserves to be thrown out by the commission.
The group said the case of the Gombe State judiciary is an attempt to impose a burden of credibility on the NJC, adding that the appointment of the chief judge should not be left in the hands of politicians “Our organisation has for several months keenly observed the unconstitutional decision of the Gombe State government to prevent Justice Beatrice Illiya from assuming the position of the state’s chief judge, in a manner which clearly violates the known conventions and our laws, especially as it is supervised by your noble National Judicial Council (NJC),” the petition reads. “We wish to state unequivocally, that the continued refusal of the Gombe State government to allow Justice Beatrice Illiya is premised on the major reasons of her religion, gender and her Tangale-Waja ethnic background to be denied lifelong dream having risen to such a noble height in her career.”