Religious crisis looms as Kebbi refuses to confirm Christian acting CJ

  • As Fani-Kayode cautions governor

Kebbi state may be heading towards a religious crisis as the governor of the state, Atiku Bagudu has been alleged of refusing to confirm the state’s chief judge, Esther Asabe Karatu, as the substantive Chief Judge because she is a Christian.


In a petition to the National judicial Council seen by National Daily, Esther Asabe Karatu, a Christian, said politics of religion and her firm belief in justice and fairness were some of the reasons the state governor denied her rights despite the recommendation of NJC.


Recall that on January 17, 2019, the Kebbi State House of Assembly also confirmed Mrs Karatu as substantive chief judge of the state, but the governor refused to act on the assembly’s confirmation.


In a letter to the governor, referenced KBHA/LEG/001/XI and entitled RE: APPOINTMENT AND REQUEST FOR CONFIRMATION OF JUSTICE ELIZABETH ASABE KARATU AS CHIEF JUDGE OF KEBBI STATE, the speaker of the state House of Assembly Abdulmumini Kamba conveyed the Assembly’s approval.


“Reference to your submission dated, 6th November, 2018, I am glad to inform you that at an Executive Session held on Thursday, 17th January, 2019, the Hon. House resolved and confirmed Justice Elizabeth Asabe Karatu as the Chief Judge of Kebbi State,” the three-paragraph letter read in part.

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Mrs Karatu, who is due to retire on July 5, 2019, was also denied right to swear-in the governor on May 29, 2019, a duty the Grand Khadi of the state, Muhtar Imam Jega did.


But the Secretary to the Kebbi State Government, Babale Yauri, said the refusal of the governor to confirm Mrs Karatu as substantive chief justice was not because of her religion.


“The State Assembly did not screen her because of some discrepancies in her credentials. It was not the governor’s fault, and his action has nothing to do with religion,” he said.


According to the SSG, the letter purportedly sent to the governor by the State Assembly is fake as it was not duly signed.


But in the petition Mrs Karatu wrote to NJC, the judge also made case against the appointment of Justice Mohammed Sulaiman Ambursa to replace her for allegedly being corrupt and friends with politicians.


Meanwhile, former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has berated governor Bagadu for the action, saying such an action could trigger serious religious crisis in the state.


Reacting on his Twitter page on Thursday, Fani-Kayode wrote: “Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state refused to confirm the Acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Esther Kataru, as the substantive Chief Judge because she is a Christian.


“This is unacceptable. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural SECULAR state.”