– Governor Atiku Bagudu has sworn in Justice Sulaiman Ambursa as chief judge of Kebbi state
– The governor said he sent Elizabeth Asabe Karatu’s name to the state assembly but she was not confirmed
– The former acting chief judge claimed she was not confirmed because of her christian faith
Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state has sacked the acting chief judge of the state, Elizabeth Asabe Karatu, and replaced her with Muhtar Imam Jega.
Daily Nigerian reports that the governor swore-in Justice Sulaiman Ambursa as Karatu’s replacement in a ceremony on Friday, June 14.
Karatu had written a petition to the NJC alleging that she was denied her rights to confirmation because she is a Christian.
The swearing-in followed the refusal of the State House of Assembly to confirm the appointment of Justice Asabe Karatu, the former Acting Chief Judge of the state.
“It baffles me when I read a story on social media that I did not forward Karatu’s name for confirmation because of her religion.
“If you could recall, I re-submitted the name of Karatu for the second time on June 2, 2018 to the House for confirmation as Chief Judge.
“I was informed that on Aug. 1, 2018, the House refused to confirm her appointment over alleged alteration of her date of birth and primary school certificate,” he explained.
He said that he lobbied the lawmakers to ensure Karatu was confirmed but all effort proved unsuccessful.
He also disclosed how he wrote to the National Judicial Council (NJC) on his efforts to ensure Karatu was confirmed by the House without fruitful outcome, stressing that the refusal to confirm her was not based on her faith.
The governor, however, urged the new Acting Chief Justice to ensure proper things are done in the judiciary.
“Our state is at the cross road now, you must right the wrongs,” he said.
Earlier, the Speaker, Alhaji Abdulmumeen Kamba, explained that the House, not the governor has the power to confirm the appointment of a chief judge.
“The purported letter mentioned in the story on social media said to be from the House addressed to the governor was never written by any member,” he said.
Kamba also condemned the story in its entirety, adding there was no truth in the allegation of religious bias in the case.
“It is worthy to note that the former Chief Judge of the state before Karatu was of Christian faith.
”Kebbi state is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state and every faith or ethnicity is treated equally,” the speaker said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ambursa is the most senior among the judges in the state higher court.
Meanwhile, the Niger state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) alleged that appointments so far made by Governor Abubakar Bello were “lopsided”.
“Governor Bello has named appointees to occupy four principal offices; none of the appointees is a Christian. We think this is not fair because many of our members campaigned for him,” the state CAN chairman, Mathias Echioda, said on Thursday, June 13, in Minna.
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