The Aba branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has given the Abia government a 14-day ultimatum to reverse the purported removal of the Abia State Chief Judge, Justice Nnenna Oti, or face civil disobedience.
According to the local Chairman of NBA, Mr. Chidozie Ogunji, Gideon Nwamuo had petitioned the state House of Assembly against the chief judge, claiming that Justice Otti during her recent jail delivery exercise released two persons identified as John Barah and Mohammed Bukar.
The NBA chairman said the petitioner alleged that since the release of the two men, crime soared in the state, leading to the killing of his uncle, the former state Commissioner for Agriculture.
Based on the petition, a committee of the state House of Assembly reportedly invited the chief judge to appear before it after which she was recommended to be sacked and the state government approved.
Ogunji stated that the chief judge’s decision to release the two inmates, who had been incarcerated for over eight years, was in agreement with the police and the prisons reports and therefore her removal was unacceptable.
"We are giving the Abia State Government a 14-day ultimatum to reverse that decision, failure of which we shall appeal to civil society groups and to the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), and people of goodwill to join us in ensuring that this travesty of justice does not stand.
"This is the first time we are having a female chief judge in Abia state. We see this move as a chauvinistic male agenda to disgrace the chief judge in the discharge of her functions," Ogunji said.
The NBA chairman, who said the association took the decision at its emergency meeting, pointed out that the removal of the chief judge was illegal, ultra-vires, against the constitution of the country and must be condemned in its totality.