Nigerian Bar Association faults Ayade’s inauguration of Judicial Service Commission

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Gov Ben Ayade (R) 
30 October 2019

The Nigerian Bar Association NBA in Cross River State has faulted the inauguration of the state Judicial Service Commission JSC by His Excellency the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade being represented by the Deputy Governor of the state, Prof. Ivara Ejemot Esu recently.
This disposition is contained in a press release signed by the Chairman and Secretary of NBA Paul O. Ebiala Esq and Effiom Ayi Esq respectively.
The critical release which condemned the inauguration hinged its argument on the premise of ‘the procedure adopted and the illegality of the action’.
Particularly, the NBA disclosed that the tenure of appointment of the Commission is Constitutionally (and other extant rules) five years and that the previous Commission was inaugurated on 7th June 2017. Again, the Cross River State House of Assembly by reason of Section 198 of the Constitution and the JSC Law is supposed to have confirmed the proposed members of the Commission. But, this was not done.

Recall that Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade, Monday

NBA press release on the said JSC inauguration 

, at the state executive chambers, Governor’s office Calabar, swore in members of the State Judicial Service Commission.

Ayade who was represented at the event by his deputy, Prof Ivara Esu, charged members of the commission to be forthright in their conduct.

“We trust that the same way you have always been forthright in your duties, some of you as retired Judges of the state High Court, some of you as members of the Bar, that you will continue to serve the state especially on this particular way so that we continue to have a smooth, well managed and well run judicial service commission,” the governor said.

According to Ayade, “you have all been chosen very carefully based on your tract records and your performances in the state and everywhere in the nation. You have just been called to continue with that service, it is a specialised service and mainly to the judiciary of the state.”

He reminded the newly sworn in members of the commission that, “statutorily, the chairman of the commission is the Chief Judge of the state as well as the Attorney General, they don’t need to be formally inaugurated or sworn in because they are already members of the commission.”

Responding on behalf of the newly sworn in members of the commission, retired Justice Obojor-Ogar thanked Governor Ayade for finding them “worthy to be appointed members of this critical commission representing the third arm of government.”

Admitting that the team was aware of the enormous challenges associated with the Commission, Obojor-Ogar said, “we are determined not to betray the confidence you have reposed in us,” adding that, “we will not betray the confidence by applying ourselves assiduously to the ethics of the commission.”

Earlier, Secretary to the State Government, Barr Tina Banku Agbor remarked that the event is significant as “it reinforces the existing harmonious relationship between the three arms of government in the state and a clear demonstration of the commitment of Governor Ayade towards ensuring that the judiciary and its support staff is properly placed to carry out its constitutional duty of interpreting the law.” 

Among those inaugurated were Justice Obojor-Ogar (rtd), Ntufam Joe Ebam, Dr Teresa Ikwen and Barr Tasen Etum Okune.