The protracted crisis in Abia judiciary may have claimed the state Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Uzokwe following her suspension, Friday by the State House of Assembly.
A new Chief Judge, Justice Obisike Orji, has already been sworn in by Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu though in acting capacity.
In his remarks during the swearing in ceremony at the Government House, Umuahia, Ikpeazu said that the action was in obedience to the constitution of the country “having received the resolution of the state House of Assembly a few hours ago suspending the former chief judge of the state.”
The Governor explained that as required by the constitution, the next in rank to the former chief judge had to be sworn in so as not to give room for any vacuum.
Ikpeazu tasked the Acting Chief Judge on the need to restore public confidence in the judiciary following the protracted crisis that had bedeviled it for a while.
Responding, Justice Orji thanked the Governor and promised not to disappoint the confidence reposed in him.
He also assured on speedy justice delivery system and to help move the state forward.
The suspended CJ had on Thursday openly engaged the Chief Registrar of the State High Court, Benson Anya in a shouting match during a meeting of magistrates and judiciary workers in the state.
Justice Uzokwe who hails from Anambra State had refused to recognise the Chief Registrar recently appointed by the reconstituted state Judicial Service Commission.
The suspended CJ had faulted the dissolution of the former commission saying that there is a pending suit against the action, but the state government said it acted based on the recommendation of the House of Assembly which had indicted members of the former commission after an investigation.
The CJ accused of highhandedness and disrespect for staff of the judiciary as well as lawyers have also been at loggerheads with the Attorney General of the state, Chief Ume Kalu ( SAN).
Kalu had variously described her actions as an embarrassment to the judiciary.