Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
Governor Abubakar, Atiku Bagudu, and Kebbi State House of Assembly on Friday debunked claims by the acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Elizabeth Asabe Karatu that the house confirmed her as the substantive chief judge of the state.
Bagudu and Speaker of the House, Hon Abdulmumin Ismaila Kamba were reacting to a story published by the media that the acting chief judge was not confirmed because she is a Christian.
The governor who swore in another acting Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman, Muhammed Ambursa, on Friday at Government House, explained that he had lobbied House members to ensure Justice Karatu’s confirmation without success.
He also disclosed how he had written to the NJC on his efforts to ensure Justice Karatu was confirmed by the House of Assembly without fruitful outcome, stressing that the refusal of the House not to confirm her was not based on her faith.
The governor who urged the new acting chief judge to ensure proper things were done in the judiciary said: “Our state is at the crossroads now; you must right the wrongs.”
Also the speaker in a press release personally signed by him and made available to newsmen in Birnin-Kebbi, the governor said that the House at no time during its plenary or an executive session confirmed her appointment.
The House was reacting to a story published by an online medium titled: “Kebbi Female Acting Chief Judge Petitions National Judicial Council over Governor Bagudu’s refusal to confirm her for being Christian.”
According to him “it was alleged that the Kebbi State House of Assembly had written to the Kebbi State Governor confirming Justice Asabe Karatu as Chief Judge of Kebbi State on January 17, 2019. This is not correct. There was never such communication.
“The Kebbi State governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, wrote to the Honourable House on June 02, 2018, appointing Justice Asabe Karatu as chief judge and seeking the confirmation of the House as required by the constitution. Justice Asabe Karatu was invited by the House on August 1, 2018.
“During the confirmation hearing which Justice Karatu attended in the company of some Higher Court Judges, it was observed by honourable members that the Primary School Leaving Certificate presented by Justice Karatu was altered severally, including alteration to her date of birth from May 1952 to May 1954. Justice Karatu accepted that she was aware of the alterations but that they were done by the headmaster.
“On account of the alterations and other inconsistencies in her credentials, the honourable House rejected the request by the governor and declined to confirm her as Chief Judge of Kebbi State.”
The Speaker insisted that on three occasions, Governor Bagudu sought for her confirmation, the House rejected her based on the alleged account of the alterations and inconsistencies, with the last rejection on May 15, 2019.
“For the record, under our constitution, it is the honourable House of Assembly and not the governor that has the power to confirm a chief judge. At no time did the House, at plenary or an executive session confirm the appointment of justice Karatu as claimed in the social media story.
“The purported letter mentioned in the story said to be from the House of Assembly addressed to the governor was never written by the Kebbi State House of Assembly,” the Speaker said.