Friday, February 2, 2018
National Judicial Council declares
the suspension of Hon. Justice T.
U. Uzokwe, Chief Judge, Abia State
It queries and suspends the State
sworn-in Acting Chief Judge.
The National Judicial Council
under the Chairmanship of the
Honourable, Mr. Justice Walter
Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON,
at its Emergency Meeting which
held today, 31st January, 2018,
considered the recent suspension
of the Abia State Chief Judge, Hon.
Mr. Justice T. U. Uzokwe and the
swearing-in of Hon. Mr. Justice
Obisike Orji as the Acting Chief
Judge of the State by Governor
Okezie Victor Ikpeazu and agreed
that the decision to suspend the
Chief Judge and the swearing-in
of an Acting Chief Judge without
the input of the National Judicial
Council is unconstitutional, null
It noted that its attention had been drawn to
the crisis in Abia State Judiciary by petitions
written against Hon. Mr. Justice T.U. Uzokwe
and the one written by the Chief Judge against
Hon. Mr. Justice C. U. Okoroafor, but in the
course of the investigation by the Committees
set up by Council, some elderly Judicial
Officers of Abia State Judiciary waded in and
pleaded with the Committees to allow the
matter to be resolved amicably by them,
which was granted by Council at its plenary.
At the last Meeting of Council which was held
on 6th December, 2017, Council directed the
Committees to continue and conclude with the
petitions before them if there were no reports
of the settlement by the peace makers. While
this was going on, the problem escalated and
Council was informed of the suspension of
Hon. Mr. Justice Uzokwe and the swearing-in
of Hon. Mr. Justice Obisike Orji as the Acting
In view of the foregoing, Council resolved as
1) The suspension of the Chief Judge of Abia
State by the State House of Assembly without a
prior recommendation by the National
Judicial Council violates the provisions of the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of
2) Consequently, the subsequent act of
appointing and swearing-in of Hon. Mr.
Justice Obisike Orji as the Acting Chief Judge is
invalid for being unconstitutional.
3) Furthermore, the conduct of Hon. Mr.
Justice Obisike Orji in presenting himself to be
sworn-in raises potential questions of
misconduct that Council is now looking into.
4) Council therefore resolved to query and
suspend the Hon. Mr. Justice Obisike Orji
pending the outcome of its investigation.
5) In view of the recent escalation, Council, in
the interest of the smooth administration of
justice in Abia State, resolved to direct the
Chief Judge, Hon. Mr. Justice T. U. Uzokwe, to
stay away from duties pending Council’s final
decision after consideration of the report of
6) In the prevailing circumstance, whereby the
National Judicial Council has directed the
Chief Judge not to perform his duties, and the
next most senior Judge is suspended, the
Governor of Abia State shall appoint Hon. Mr.
Justice Onuoha Arisa Kalu Ogwe, the next most
senior Judge to act as the Chief Judge of Abia
State, pending Council’s final resolution of the
SOJI OYE, ESQ.