The Cross River House of Assembly on Thursday confirmed Justice Akon Ikpeme as substantive Chief Judge of the state, after rejecting her twice in 2020.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that her rejection was based on her state of origin, Akwa Ibom, even when she is married to a man from Cross River and has served in the state Ministry of Justice for more than 30 years.
Ikpeme was, however, not present on the floor of the house during her confirmation on Thursday in Calabar.
A letter presented on the floor of the house by the Clerk, Mr Bassey Ekpenyong, dated Jan. 29, and signed by the Secretary to the State Governnent, Mrs Tina Agbor, conveyed the confirmation request to the Assembly.
The letter said that it was in the exercise of the powers conferred on Ben Ayade as Governor of Cross River by Section 271(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“I am directed to forward the name of Hon. Justice Akon Ikpeme for confirmation by the Honourable House as Chief Judge of Cross River in the state public service.
“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request Mr Speaker and members to please grant the consequential confirmation of the nominee for a formal appointment as Chief Judge of Cross River in the state public service,” the letter read in parts.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the confirmation, the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Eteng Jonah-Williams, said the legislature now had fresh facts about Justice Ikpeme.
“Her confirmation is for the stability of the judiciary; we felt Cross River people are suffering a lot because of that and we have done our job, which is to stabilise the judiciary.
“As the Chief Judge, she knows her responsibility. We expect a lot because a lot of Cross River residents stood by her during her trying times.
“She should give justice, do the right thing, be fair to all and I wish her good luck,” he said. (NAN)