Following the retirement of Justice Priscilla Emehelu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi swore in Justice Raymond Ozoemena as the Acting Chief Judge of Enugu State.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Media Aide to the governor, Mr. Louis Amoke, made available to newsmen on Wednesday.
He said that Emehelu retired from service as the Chief Judge of Enugu State High Court on September 7.
Swearing in the new chief judge, Ugwuanyi explained that the decision was based on the order of seniority of the judges of Enugu High Court.
He said it was also in line with the National Judicial Council (NJC) via its letter Ref. No. NJC/S.14/HC.EN/9/1/228 dated Sept. 1, 2021.
The governor stated that the 1999 Constitution as amended, did not contemplate that vacancy should exist in the office of the chief judge given the sensitivity of the office and its functions.
He added that section 271 sub-section 4 of the Constitution empowers the governor of a state to appoint the most senior judge of the High Court to perform the function.
He noted that the new chief judge would perform the duty on acting capacity until a person has been appointed to assume the functions of that office.
Ugwuanyi, therefore, congratulated Justice Ozoemena for his well-deserved appointment as the acting chief judge of the state.
He expressed confidence that Ozoemena would bring his juristic erudition, diverse experience, and gravitas to bear on the administration of the state judiciary.
“I wish you well and pray for God to grant you the strength and wisdom to discharge this herculean duty,’’ the governor said.
Responding, Justice Ozoemena thanked God for making it possible for him to be sworn in as acting chief judge of the state.
He appreciated Ugwuanyi for elevating him in the judiciary.
The acting chief judge paid glowing tributes to Emehelu, for the quality leadership she provided in the judiciary.
Ozoemena promised to keep all the worthy legacies Emehelu left behind as well as improve on them.
“I am personally influenced by what Justice Emehelu did, the way she was mothering all of us and we regarded her as a Mommy in the state judiciary,’’ he said.
Justice Emehelu urged the judges and other officials of the judiciary to accord Ozoemena the same support and cooperation they accorded her.
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