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Dropped female judge: Inside details of why CJN did not swear her in



PRIVILEGED sources within the top hierarchy of the judiciary revealed that Justice Ifeoma Jombo-Ofo, in an application form for elevation to the intermediate court filled by her four years ago when Abia State had no vacant slot, filled Anambra State, which had vacant slot then, as her state of origin.

Though from Anambra State, she was to have picked the available slot, despite having changed her state of origin in her service documents to Abia State when she got married to an indigene of Abia State.


She reportedly lost the Anambra slot to another candidate.

While applying for the same elevation this year, she reportedly filled Abia as her state of origin because it was Abia that now had a vacant slot, while Anambra State did not have an opening.

Following the discovery of the mix-up in the state of origin column for her in the two applications, the CJN reportedly summoned her to her office and asked whether she filled the two application forms by herself.

She was said to have confirmed filling the two forms with different states of origin.

Justice Jombo-Ofo was reportedly informed of the fate awaiting her at that point by the CJN over the issue.

Since the refusal to swear her in along with other judges by the CJN, there has been pressure from all quarters on the CJN to pardon and reconsider Jombo-Ofo, but as of press time, she had reportedly not shown any signs of yielding.

She reportedly told those who contacted her on Jombo-Ofo’s behalf, that some judges had patiently waited for Abia’s slot to be available and she could not jump ahead those that had been waiting.

According to the Tribune, the Senate should have asked for all the facts before making a resolution on the matter.

It was gathered that the presidency and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have kicked off investigations into the refusal of the CJN to swear in Jombo-Ofo as an Appeal Court Judge.

President of the NBA, Mr Okey Wali, who confirmed the Bar’s investigation during a courtesy visit to the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, on Thursday said that the Bar had scheduled a meeting with the CJN over the matter.

He said that the Bar would make its position known after its meeting with the CJN.

Mark, at the meeting, said that the Senate would continue to insist on the swearing-in of the judge, adding that the development amounts to a threat to the institution of marriage.

He said that the Senate did not get any petition against the judge when it screened and confirmed her appointment.  

It was learnt that when these inconsistencies were discovered, the CJN confronted her with the facts but there was no reasonable defence.

This had necessitated the CJN to write to the president concerning her issue and subsequently went ahead to put on hold her swearing-in as a Judge of the Court of Appeal.

According to a source close to the CJN, “Justice Mukhtar has nothing personal against Justice Jombo-Ofo. It is unfortunate that people never thought it wise to seek the truth of what happened but rather went ahead to rely on media reports to castigate and vilify the Chief Justice of Nigeria without getting the true facts of the matter.

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