Judex Okoro, Calabar
State High Court sitting in Calabar has restrained Governor Ben Ayade and four others from interfering in the affairs of the Cross River State judicial Service Commission .
Ayade had on October 25, 2019, inaugurated a four-man member into state Judicial Service Commission in total disregard to the constitution as well as the Judicial Service Commission law.
He had earlier dissolved the five-man commission inaugurated on July 7, 2017 whilst the tenure was yet to expire.
In suit, No.HC/393/2019, between Edem Ita Edem, Barr. Egbara Owa and His Lordship Fedelia Okpo Ene (retd) as claimants and Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River State and eight others as defendants, the plaintive is praying the court to restrain the governor from interfering in the affairs of the commission.
In the motion ex parte signed by Justice E.E Etta and Ekei Koofreh, court’s granted applicants’ prayers which he made to the court.
Applicant’s counsel, Utum Eteng, had approached the court praying for an interim injunction to restrain the defendants, their agents, servants and functionaries from administering, manage or carrying out the duties of the state Judicial Service Commission or posing as members of the commission pending the hearing of motion on notice.
An affidavit supporting the motion ex parte, accused the administration of Gov. Ben Ayade of failing to follow laid down rules in the appointment of the new members of the state judicial service commission.
Irked by the development, Edem Edem Ita, Barr Egbara Owan and his Lordship Fedelia Okpo Ene (rtd),who claimed to be authentic members of the state Judicial Service Commission, approached the court to seek redress since their tenure had not elapsed.
The affidavit stated that the state Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Michael Edem, knowing that the term of the claimants was still subsisting, since it was a statutory 5-year tenure provided by the constitution, stormed out of the venue with judicial officers who went with him.
The affidavit stressed that by the law of Judicial Service Commission, no man has the power to appoint people to serve in the commission without rectification by the state House of Assembly.
Among the prayers made by claimants’ counsel in the ex parte included an order of accelerated hearing of the originating summons by virtue of the urgency of issues raised.
An order to serve all the processes of his originating summons on the list to 7th defendant through office of the Director of Civil Litigation, Ministry of Justice Calabar.
The court order stated “it is further ordered that this matter be and is hereby adjourned to November 11 2011.”