NJC throws out petition against tribunal judge

The National Judicial Council has thrown out a petition against Justice Akon Ikpeme.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mba Ukweni, disclosed this to journalists in Calabar, Rivers State, on Sunday.

He said Justice Ikpeme was accused of collecting bribe by Senator Smart Adeyemi and others.

He said Justice Ikpeme was the Judge who headed the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in 2015 and was accused of compromise by the petitioners.

According to Ukweni, Justice Ikpeme was absolved of the accusation by a panel set up by National Judicial Council in its report.

He said, “The council in its meeting held on the 18th of April 2019, after deliberating on the report of the committee accepted the findings of the panel and dismissed the petitions for lack of merit,” he said.

Ukweni further explained that he was among the team of lawyers that defended Justice Ikpeme before a three-man panel set up by the National Judicial Council.

He said, “The three-man panel appointed by NJC to investigate the complaints, duly and meticulously investigated the complaints and found them to be false and unfounded,” he said.

He said, “The judge strongly denied making confession to anybody and challenged the petitioners to produce the unnamed Presidential aide before whom she was alleged to have confessed but they were unable to do so.”

He also said that the Court of Appeal in a unanimous decision upheld the judgment of the tribunal in the appeal filed before it in 2015 and described social media reports that the judge confessed to a presidential aide that she was compromised as fake news.

He said, “The decision of the NJC dismissing the petitions were conveyed to the petitioners, namely Senator Smart Adeyemi and Mr Olarenwaju Suraju, chairman, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, in letters dated May 9th 2019 and signed by the Secretary of the National Judicial Council on behalf of the council.”

Justice Ikpeme is in line to be the next chief judge of Cross River State after the retirement of Justice Michael Edem in November this year.

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