After a lot of uproar and following intervention from various quarters, with the directive of the National Judicial Council (NJC) the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Mariam Aloma Muhktar, on Friday, elevated Justice Ifeoma Jumbo-Ofor to the Appeal Court Bench.
It would be recalled that the CJN had on November 5, declined to swear-in Justice Jombo-ofor alongside eleven other newly appointed Justices of the appellate court. On the fateful day, Justice Jombo-Ofor had come to the apex court auditorium, venue of the swearing-in, with her friends and relatives, having gotten the nod of both the NJC and President Goodluck Jonathan to ascend to the appellate court. However, she was directed to vacate the seat reserved for the new Judges, barely few minutes to the swearing-in ceremony.
The reason for this rather embarrassing scenario was the contention that, going by the prevailing judicial policy in the country, vis-à-vis the Federal Character principle, she was not qualified to take a slot reserved for Abia state on the appellate court bench. The argument had been that, though she is currently serving under the Abia state judiciary, she lacked the requisite locus to ascend on the slot of the state since she was originally from Anambra, notwithstanding the fact that she is married to a man from Abia state.