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‘It’s not about gender bias’ — Gombe clarifies non-appointment of female chief judge

‘It’s not about gender bias’ — Gombe clarifies non-appointment of female chief judge
December 05
13:37 2019

The Gombe government has denied being biased in its recent appointment of the chief justice of the state. 

Beatrice Iliya, the most senior judge in the state, was appointed in acting capacity and at the expiration of her three-month tenure, the government swore in Muazu Yahaya as acting chief judge of the state.

On Wednesday, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA),Nigeria condemned the development, saying Iliya is a noble lady who is not due for retirement in three years. 

“We therefore strongly object to the planned swearing in of a junior male judge as Chief Judge in her place for whatever reason,” FIDA had said. 

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But in a message to TheCable on Thursday, Ismaila Misilli, spokesperson to Inuwa Yahaya, the governor, said there is no constitutional provision to re-appoint a person whose term has elapsed without the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC). 

“The governor only approved the appointment of the next most senior high court judge as new acting chief judge sequel to the expiration of the 3 months’ constitutional term for acting appointment of the former acting CJ,” he said. 

“The governor has no power to extend her acting capacity period without the recommendation of the NJC. And the NJC has not made that recommendation up to the end of the three months acting period. The Constitution said emphatically that the Gov SHALL NOT re-appoint a person whose term has elapsed without the recommendation of the NJC.

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“It should be noted that the governor did not receive any request from the Judicial Service Commission for the extension of the appointment of the former CJ as required by section 271 sub station 5 which states that: Except on the recommendation  of the National Judicial Council, an appointment pursuant to subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after expiration of three months from the date of such appointment and the Governor shall not re-appoint a person whose appointment has lapsed.

“Nothing like gender bias at all in the appointment. After all when the former CJ, Justice Hakila Heman retired it was the same Governor Inuwa Yahaya that appointed Justice Beatrice Iliya as acting CJ being the next most Senior high Court Judge. And besides, appointment of a woman to the exalted position of CJ is not new to Gombe state.  Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa served as CJ before her movement to the Federal judiciary.”

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