The former chief judge of the state, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, has accrued retirement benefits and entitlements, and the National Judicial Council (NJC) has requested payment from the Abia State Government.
The Abia State House of Assembly suspended Uzokwe from her position in January 2018 as a result of a petition filed against her by the Global Centre for Peace and Justice.
Despite the fact that many viewed the House of Assembly’s decision as a violation of the constitution and a slight to the independence of the judiciary, the NJC nonetheless recommended her mandatory retirement in March 2018.
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 revealed that Justice Uzokwe had failed to receive the aforementioned entitlements from the state government, despite NJC’s directive.