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The Cross River State House of Assembly has confirmed Justice Akon Ikpeme as the Chief of the state.
The confirmation of Ikpeme had previously been rejected twice by the House, but at its plenary on Thursday, the House gave Ikpeme the seal of approval to become the substantive Chief Judge.
At the plenary, the Clerk of the House Bassey Ekpenyong read a letter from the state Governor, Ben Ayade, seeking Ikpeme’s confirmation as the Chief Judge before a motion that led to the unanimous confirmation was moved.
Explaining why the House confirmed Ikpeme despite previous rejection, the Speaker, Eteng Williams said, “The Assembly just did its job. We got new facts. We got documents that we needed. We’ve done our own findings.”
Also speaking, the Leader of the House and representative of Ogoja Constituency, Peter Odey said, “It was the decision of the House at that time not to confirm her. And it is the decision of the House of Assembly to confirm her today. The House has done the needful, and that chapter is now behind us. I wish Cross River judiciary well.”
Cross River State had been without a substantive chief judge since early 2020.
Following the retirement of Justice Michael Edem in 2019, the National Judicial Council had earlier recommended Justice Ikpeme who had served as the Acting Chief Judge of the state for three months to be confirmed as the Chief Judge.
But the state House of Assembly refused to confirm her appointment, citing she is an indigene of Akwa Ibom State.
However, Ikpeme is of Akwa Ibom parentage. She was born in Calabar, Cross River, when Akwa Ibom was a part of Cross River. She is married to a man from Cross River, and has been working for decades as a judicial officer, including being a director of public prosecution, and a judge in Cross River.