By Edem Edem
Twenty days after the expiration of the tenure of Acting Chief Justice of Cross River State, Justice Maurice Eneji, the Federation of Akwa Ibom Women Associations (FAIWA) has decried the non-appointment of Justice Akon Aquaisua Ikpeme as the substantive Chief Judge of Cross River State.
In a statement made available on Sunday, the Association lamented the action of the Cross River State Government.
“We sisters in Akwa Ibom State have watched and listened with utter disgust, the ongoing unsavoury debate, insulting the person of our most respected and reputable and indeed most senior Judge Akon Aquaisua Ikpeme, making headlines in Cross River State, a State that we had hitherto believed to be our sister state.
“We have been reminded over and over again that this great lady of no mean repute, is not a native of Cross River State, which we are aware of, and which your brother knew when he married her, and as such cannot aspire to the post of Chief Justice of Cross River State, even though she is the most senior Judge in the State and has served the same state almost all her career,” the statement lamented.
The statement signed by the Former Administrator General, Cross River State Ministry of Justice (1985-1987) Dame (Dr) Ime Essien Udom, addressed to one of the Co-Conveners of Women For Women Community (W4Wc) Cross River State, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo said “Now my sister, we sisters here would like to be clear on some points: Is Justice Akon Aquaisua Ikpeme legally married to Dr. Ikpeme or not?
“Is Justice Akon Aquaisuua Ikpeme thereby a native of Cross River State or not? If she is, has she breached any law that disallows her to claim her rights as a bona fide native of Cross River State? Or is it a customary law issue?
“What makes her a “security risk” to Cross River State as is being touted? Are her children also security risks by virtue of association with a mother who is a security risk? Or is there no longer a cordial relationship between Akwa Ibom State and our sister Cross River State?
“It baffles us over here where these new constitutional and jurisprudential propositions are coming from (and we sincerely hope they do not have the backing, open or subtle, of the Cross River State House of Assembly). We look forward to your clear and urgent responses to these questions. We need to know where we stand on these issues, especially the official position of your government on them.”
When contacted on Sunday via phone, Amb Nkoyo Toyo regretted the non appointment of Justice Akon Ikpeme and appealed to the Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade to reconsider his stand and appoint Justice Ikpeme as the next substantive Chief Judge.
“We urge and appeal to the Governor of the State to give Justice Akon the chance to become the next Chief Judge of the state, we believe that it will lay to rest this issue of non appointment of Chief Judge and allow his Excellency enough space and time to continue with the issue of governance.
“For us in the women for women platform here in Cross River State, ours is to appeal and beg the Governor of Cross River to please look magnanimously on this issue, not on anything but for our sake as platform of women who have supported him very strongly throughout his campaign and in the last five years of his leadership, we think Akon, more than any other judge will do a good job for the State and him as the Governor,” she added.