Law News

Gov. Bagudu swears in Justice Ambursa as Kebbi Chief Judge, House of Assembly sets Records Straight

Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu presents the appointment letter to the new Chief Judge, Honourable Justice M. S. Ambursa

Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu has sworn in Honourable Justice Muhammad Suleiman Ambursa as new Acting Chief Judge of the State.

Hon. Justice Ambursa was born in December 1957 and appointed as High Court Judge in 1998.

The appointment came on the heels of a petition by Hon. Justice Asabe Karatu, the immediate past acting Chief Judge, who had declined to swear in the Governor on May 29.

In her petition to the National Judicial Council, NJC, Justice Karatu alleged that she was denied confirmation as substantive Chief Judge because she is a Christian, an allegation the Executive has denied.

Justice Karatu was duly recommended

In his address, Governor Bagudu congratulated the new acting Chief Judge of Kebbi State while seizing the opportunity to dispel rumors making rounds on social media that Justice Asabe Karatu was rejected by the House of Assembly on grounds of her religious beliefs, and lending credence to the earlier press release by the state house of assembly that Kebbi State is a land of equity and does not discriminate on grounds of ethnicity or religious affiliations in the appointment of office holders.

He stated that Hon. Justice Asabe was rejected by the House of Assembly due to an alteration in one of her certificates, despite his pleas for her confirmation as substantive chief judge. He made it known that the appointment of a Chief Judge was strictly within the constitutional jurisdiction of the State Houses of Assembly, a Governor may only recommend.

Speaking further, he stated that his decision to swear in Justice Mohammed Sulaiman Ambursa as the new acting chief judge of Kebbi State, was based on the guidance of the NJC from whom he had sought guidance and in response, the Council sent a 6-man panel to the state headed by Chief Judge of FCT; Justice Isiaku Bello.

After deliberations, he was duly advised to recommend to the state assembly the next most senior Judge in the state, in person of Justice Ambursa as the new acting Chief Judge to the state.

The Kebbi State House of Assembly sets Records straight

The attention of Kebbi State House of Assembly has been drawn to a story circulation in the social media
In it was alleged that the Kebbi State House of Assembly had written to the Kebbi State Governor confirming Justice Asabe Karatu as Chief Judge of Kebbi State on Jan.17th 2018. This is not correct, there was no such communication .
The Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu wrote to the Honourable House on June 02/2018 appointing Justice Asabe Karatu as Chief Judge and seeking the confirmation by the House as required by the Constitution.
Justice Asabe Karatu was invited by the House on August 01/2018. During the confirmation hearing which Justice Karatu attended in the company of some High Court Judge it was observed by Honourable members what the primary school leaving certificate presented by Karatu was altered severally, including the alteration of the date of birth from may 1952 to may 1954, Justice Karatu accepted that she was aware of the alterations, but they were done by the headmaster.
On account of the alterations and other inconsistencies in her credentials, the Honourable House rejected the request by the Governor and declined to confirmed her as Chief Judge of Kebbi State.

Subsequently, and on three other occasions, the state Governor, Sen. A. Bagudu wrote and sought her
Confirmation. On all the occasions the Honourable House maintained it’s refusal to confirm Justice Asabe Karatu as chief judge Kebbi state on account of alterations and inconsistencies with the last such rejection made by the Honourable House on May 15, 2019.
For the record under our constitution it is the Honourable House of assembly and not the Governor that has the power to confirm the a Chief Judge.

At no time did the House, at plenary or an executive session confirmed the appointment of Justice Karatu as claimed in the social media story. The purported letter mentioned in the story said to be from the
House of Assembly addressed to the Governor was never written by the Kebbi State House of Assembly.

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