Human Rights advocacy group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has condemned the suspension of Uzokwe by the state House of Assembly.
It equally flayed Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s replacement of Justice Uzokwe with Justice Obisike Orji as the acting chief judge of the state.
In a statement made available to journalists on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Adewale Timothy, SERAP argued that Justice Uzokwe’s removal violated Sections 292(1)(a)(ii) and 21(d) Part 11 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.
It said, “It amounts to a blatant attack on the integrity and independence of the judiciary. No judge, anywhere in Nigeria, can be removed without the involvement of the National Judicial Council, no matter the level of allegations of misconduct against that judge.
“Governor Ikpeazu must rescind his illegal appointment of a new chief judge, and the Abia State House of Assembly must withdraw the apparently politically-motivated suspension of Justice Uzokwe without further delay. Doing so will be entirely consistent with the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of Raliat Elelu-Habeed & anor v Attorney General of the Federation and Attorney General of Kwara State (2012).”
Meanwhile, Judiciary workers, under the aegis of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, on Sunday frowned at the suspension of the Chief Judge of Abia State, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, by the Abia State House of Assembly.
Justice Uzokwe was reportedly removed on Friday as the Abia State chief judge by the lawmakers, who reportedly adopted the report of an eight-man ad hoc committee. The committee indicted the judge for misconduct.
They directed Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to appoint an acting Chief Judge pending the completion of investigation by its committee into alleged acts of misconduct by Justice Uzokwe.
The governor had subsequently appointed Justice Obisike Orji as the acting chief judge of the state.