Alleged Unlawful Appointment: Party Petitions NJC, Seeks Suspension of Imo Acting CJ

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The Action People’s Party (APP) has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the alleged unlawful appointment of Justice T. E. Chikeka, as the acting Chief Judge of Imo State.

APP, in the petition dated December 6, 2021, called for the suspension and discipline of Justice Chikeka for presenting himself for appointment as the CJ of the state without due process.

The party’s National Chairman, Mr. Uchenna Nnadi, who signed the petition, accused the state Governor, Hope Uzodimma, of jettisoning judicial hierarchy to appoint Justice Chikeka, who is the number three Judge in the state as CJ.

The petition read in part: “As you are aware, Justice I. O. Agugua, being the most senior judicial officer in the state, was lawfully appointed as the acting Chief Judge of Imo State in March 2020. Her appointment in that capacity followed the due process of law regarding the appointment of judicial officers.

“Regrettably, on October 21, 2021, the Governor of Imo State, Uzodinma, without recourse to the prescribed constitutional process, unlawfully removed Justice Agugua, from office as the acting Chief Judge of Imo State, and in her stead, unilaterally appointed Justice Chikeka, as the acting Chief Judge of Imo State.

“We wish to call your noble attention to the fact that in the state judiciary, the three most senior Judges of the High Court are as follows: Justice I. O. Agugua, Justice C. A. Ononeze Madu, and Justice T. E. Chikeka.

”This means that Justice Chikeka, who has now being appointed as the acting Chief Judge of Imo State is not the most senior judicial officer in the state and therefore does not come close to occupying such office in the event of any vacancy, which does not exist in the present circumstances.”

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