Rivers backs CJ despite suspension by NJC
The Rivers State government said yesterday Justice Peter Agumagu remains the state’s chief judge despite his recent suspension by the National Judicial Council. Agumagu was last week suspended as a judicial officer by the NJC and was given four days to explain why he should not be completely removed.
The state Commissioner for Justice, Nworgu Boms, who spoke to newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday described the suspension as illegal and unconstitutional, maintaining that Justice Agumagu remains the substantive chief judge of the state.
“The position of the NJC which is very unfortunate, gives equally unfortunate and misleading impression to the public that the appointment of Justice PNC Agumagu as chief judge of Rivers State occurred from the skies and with no contribution of the NJC to it or that there is no history behind it. Justice PNC Agumagu, the NJC wants the world to believe, just woke up, walked to the State House and got appointed and sworn in as the chief judge. This impression is misleading, self-serving and diversionary.”
“It is important to state from the outset that the NJC has always preferred the doctrine of the most senior judge of the High Court in the appointment of the chief judge of Rivers State and in particular, Justice D.W. Okocha, as its candidate for the position. In its single-minded pursuit of the actualisation of this doctrine and preference, it enunciated further the doctrine that only a judge of the state High Court is qualified for consideration for the office and that Justice Agumagu, then President of the state’s Customary Court of Appeal, could not be allowed to cross over to become the state chief judge”, the commissioner said.