The Rivers Government has described the suspension of the state Chief Judge, Justice Peter Agumagu, by the National Judicial Council (NJC) as illegal and unconstitutional.
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Worgu Boms, made the declaration on Wednesday in Port Harcourt.
Explaining the circumstance of Agumagu’s appointment, Boms told newsmen that he was the most senior judge in the state as at the time the former chief judge of the state retired.
Agumagu was suspended by the NJC last week and given four days to show cause why he should not be removed as a judicial officer.
Boms said that no law vests the NJC with the power to declare acts unconstitutional, adding that what the Council did to Agumagu was usurpation of judicial powers and functions.
“The National Judicial Council (NJC) or indeed, any council for that matter, has no powers under any law to declare the action of the state governor, in this case, the action of the Governor of Rivers State in the appointment of the Chief Judge of the state, unconstitutional,’’ he said.
Boms said it was only a court with requisite jurisdiction could validly do so.
According to him, the NJC did not have the power to appoint or dismiss a judge, adding that it cannot even suspend a judge under the colour of discipline.
“It can only recommend such to either the governor in the case of state judges, or to the president, in the case of federal judges.
Boms recalled that on March 19, the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt ruled that Agumagu was qualified to be recommended to the governor of the state for appointment as Chief Judge of the state.