The Cross River State House of Assembly has confirmed Justice Akon Ikpeme as the substantive chief judge of the state after rejecting her twice on grounds of “not being from Cross River state”.
Ikpeme’s state of origin (Akwa Ibom state) had stirred up controversy in the assembly even though she was born in Cross River, schooled in the state, practised law in the state, married a Cross Riverian and also gave birth to children who are all from Cross River state.
In spite of the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) and Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) backing, the state assembly rejected the appointment of Ikpeme, who is the most senior judge in the state twice on grounds of “state of origin”.
Ikpeme was however confirmed on Thursday January 28 following a motion moved by Peter Odey, the lawmaker representating of Ogoja constituency and seconded by Okon Ephraim, the lawmaker representing Calabar south 1.
The new Chief Judge was born in Calabar, Cross River, when Akwa Ibom was a part of Cross River. She has been working for decades as a judicial officer, including being a director of public prosecution and a judge in Cross River.
Akwa Ibom was created out of Cross River on September 23, 1987, by the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida.