Law

Lawyers block High court premises in Calabar over ‘Acting’ Chief Judge

Lawyers in their numbers on Tuesday blocked the State High Court located along Mary Slessor Avenue in Calabar in continuation of their protest against the lack of a substantive Chief Judge in the state.
Governor Ben Ayade had on Monday sworn in Justice Eyo Ita as the third acting Chief Judge of the state following the expiration of the tenure of Justice Akon Ikpeme and that of Justice Maurice Eneji respectively as acting Chief Judges since December last year.
In anger, the lawyers on Monday protested the swearing in of another Judge, Justice Eyo Ita in acting capacity, accusing the governor and the State of House of Assembly of attempting to destroy the judiciary in the state.
They took their protest to the Governor’s Office but the swearing had been done before their arrival and the governor had left.
On Tuesday, however, they blocked the High Court gate as early as 7am and refused any Judge from entering into the premises, except lawyers, who went to register cases and nothing more, while every court sitting was postponed.
Speaking to journalists at the premises of the State High Court, leader of the protest, Barr. Effiom Ayi said they were against turning the state judiciary into an arm of the Executive and the Legislature, explaining that the state judiciary has never been this bad.
“We cannot in all sense of responsibility say that after 318 days, Cross River State cannot have a Chief Judge in substantive capacity.
“As at Friday the 16th day of October, 2020, over a hundred cases filed by citizens cannot be filed or heard,” Ayi said.
Meanwhile, some senior lawyers in Cross River State have descended on Governor Ayade for swearing in another Chief Judge in acting capacity in the state, saying the governor was playing politics with the judiciary arm of government.

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