The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has called for the compulsory retirement of the judge presiding over court cases involving Rivers APC.
The judge is Justice Augusta Kingsley-Chukwu, a high court judge in Rivers State.
Rivers APC had after its congresses were annulled by the Supreme Court set up a caretaker committee.
However, court actions were filed against the caretaker committee before Justice Kingsley-Chukwu, who granted an injunction restraining the party and the caretaker committee from taking any further step.
Not happy with this, Oshiomhole, in a petition to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), accused Justice Kingsley-Chukwu of bias and asked that she be sent on a compulsory retirement.
“By the civil procedure rules of the Rivers state high court, the APC was entitled to 21 days within which to enter an appearance and file their necessary processes in defence,” Oshiomhole wrote in the petition.
“Curiously, it was brought to our attention that Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chukwu had abridged that time to 48 hours. Our curiosity was further heightened when we discovered that the husband of Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chukwu is a top leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who had previously contested for the position of chairman of Obio/Akpor local government area and currently serves as the legal adviser of the PDP in Rivers state.
“Expectedly, the APC had reasonable apprehension that Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chukwu may not be able to discharge her duties as a judicial officer objectively without interference,” Oshiomhole said.
According to Oshiomhole, the APC had also sent a petition to the Rivers State Chief Judge to reassign the case to another judge.
He decried that Kingsley-Chukwu still proceeded to entertain the case.
According to Oshiomhole, the judge ought to have borrowed a leaf from judicial officers like Zainab Bulkachuwa, president of the Court of Appeal and Mary Odili, justice of the Supreme Court, who in the past recused themselves from presiding over court matters likely to impact on the political interest of their spouses.
He added, “Disappointingly, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chukwu proceeded to entertain the suit and granted an injunction restraining the APC,” he said.
“By reason of the above facts, we believe that the Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chukwu has broken the letters and spirit of the code of conduct for judicial officers and has engaged in acts unbecoming of a judicial officer.
“Equally, we believe that the action of the Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley- Chukwu in granting orders which were not prayed by a party in such a contentious suit smacks of poor knowledge of the law, and such a judicial officer should be compulsorily retired and not allowed to continue to preside over the fate of members of the public Without the requisite knowledge of the law.”