Source: Point Blank News (Nigeria)
The Senate has urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Murthar, to swear in Justice Ifeoma Jombo-Ofo as a Justice of the Abia Court of Appeal.
It would be recalled that the CJN had refused to swear in Justice Ifeoma Jombo-Ofo as Judge of Abia State Court of Appeal over petitions that Justice Jumbo-Ofo does not hail from the state, even though her husband is an indigene of the state.
The Senate resolution followed a motion sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and supported by all the Senators.
Ekweremadu observed that “there is no record of any objection to her appointment by her husband, Abia State Government or Abia State Judiciary”.
He added “that to the practical implication of the decision of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is that Nigerian women have lost all they struggled for over the years and Nigeria will be taken back 100 years.
“And that once a woman is married outside her community, local government area or State she cannot aspire to any position (appointive or elective) in her husband’s community, local government area or state. While it is very unlikely that she will secure such position in her place of origin since she has been married out.”
He added “that this scenarios put Nigerian women in very hopeless situation and most importantly contravenes S.42 (1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)
“Takes special notice that there are abundant instances of women who have taken judicial appointment, also executive and legislative positions from the states of origin of their husband.
The Senate President, David Mark, wondered the CJN was crying more than the bereaved, Abia state, who have not filed against her nomination.
He opined further that the refusal smacks of threat to the sanctity of marriage for professional women.
Mark said “if there is anything good in the husbands place and the wife can’t take it then I think it is unfortunate. But more importantly the sanctity of marriage will be destroyed by this act if we allow it to go. I believe we want to encourage professional women to maintain their profession and keep their marriage.
Because this will provide for them to choose between their profession and their marriage and I think that will not encourage family life in this country. I think the whole thing is a fait accompli because they have gone through the entire process there is nothing left again. Swearing in is just ceremonial and if these issues were not raised before and only at the point of swearing in and to appease those who have petitioned or whether it is done because she is not from the husband’s state of origin is immaterial, I think she ought to have been sworn in.
“More importantly I think the judiciary will be crying louder than the bereaved because Abia state is not complaining. The governor was there, so why should anybody come and say she is taking abia slot because that is what it means in effect if she was not sworn in. We should do whatever we can to ensure that she is sworn in. This will make us think twice about the over-emphasises on indegenship and place of origin. This brings that to the fore. If you are resident in a place why can’t you take appointment there. But particularly on this issue, I think it is just a mistake and that the mistake will be corrected.”
However, while responding to questions over what options would be adopted if the CJN refuses to swear in Justice Jumbo-Ofo, the spokesman of the Senate, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, said “we don’t have to draw lines. We don’t feel that the corporation that we have enjoyed with the judiciary will be tested by this. CJN being reasonable and part of our leadership will take due cognizance of our views” he said.
The Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, said the CJN acted in a retrogressive, discriminatory and unconstitutional way stressing that such action was unfortunate especially at a time a woman is the CJN.
He under pinned the implication of the action of the CJN on the judiciary is that it limits the judiciary to mediocrity and threatens the sanctity of marriage as it puts career minded women in a position where they have to choose between their career and marriage.
As the only woman who spoke on the matter, Senator Zainab Kure, who urged the CJN to swear in the newly appointed Justice, congratulated her male colleagues for their solidarity on the matter.
She noted that the female senators had agreed not to comment on the matter.
Read further here.