From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has asked the Abia State Government to pay the former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, retirement benefits and entitlements accrued to her.
Uzokwe was suspended from office by the Abia State House of Assembly in January 2018 following a petition brought against her by a group, Global Centre for Peace and Justice.
Although many saw the House of Assembly’s action as a violation of the constitution and an affront to the independence of the judiciary, the NJC all the same, in March 2018, recommended her compulsory retirement.
However, Justice Uzokwe, through her counsel, Nnamdi Ahaiwe petitioned the NJC for a review and the setting aside of its earlier decision, citing an error that the NJC failed to comply with the provisions of paragraph 16 (1) of the 2014 NJC Judicial Discipline Regulations, thereby denying Justice Uzokwe a fair hearing in the proceedings.
NJC after the review absolved Justice Uzokwe from any wrongdoing and resolved to pay her arrears of salaries and allowances from the date they recommended her for compulsory retirement to when she attained her statutory retirement.
The NJC in a letter to the state government, dated May 25, 2022, which was signed by the ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice I.T Muhammad, copied to Uzokwe and sighted by our Correspondent, the body
reminded Gov Okezie Ikpeazu of the decision to pay the ex-chief Judge all her allowances/entitlements.
It was gathered that Justice Uzokwe was yet to be paid the said entitlements by the state government as directed by NJC.