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APC faults NJC’s suspension of Rivers Chief Judge

The All Progressives Congress has called on the National Judicial Council to rescind the suspension of the Rivers State Chief Judge, Justice Peter Agumagu, in the interest of justice.

The APC faulted the suspension of Agumagu as a judge, challenging the NJC of not following due process in suspending the state chief judge.

Agumagu was sworn in by the State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, after a Federal High Court had ruled that the governor could appoint a state chief judge from Customary Appeal Court.

But a statement by the state chapter of the party on Tuesday maintained that Agumagu was not given fair hearing by the NJC before being suspended, adding that the council has no power to suspend a sitting state chief judge.

The statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Interim State Chairman of APC, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, indicated that the NJC should have appealed the High Court ruling that ensured Agumagu’s appointment as the state chief judge.

“The All Progressives Congress, Rivers State Chapter, is convinced that the NJC erred seriously on this issue as due process was not followed in Justice Agumagu’s suspension and we wish to request the revered NJC to reverse this decision in the interest of justice.

“There is a judgment of a competent court headed by Honourable Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, upon which the State House of Assembly and Governor Chibuike Amaechi acted in clearing and swearing in Justice Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers State.

“In the said judgment, NJC was a party. NJC has a right of appeal but under part 1, section 21 (d) of the third schedule of the 1999 Constitution, the NJC has no power to suspend Justice Agumagu.

“To make matters worse, NJC breached Agumagu’s fundamental right to fair hearing by suspending him without affording him the opportunity to be heard. The NJC has certainly gone beyond its powers,” the statement read.

The APC urged the NJC not to dabble into politics and desist from giving leverage to those desperate to remove the state governor.

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