Why I refused to confirm ‘Christian’ ex-acting CJ — Kebbi Governor

Goodovernor I will be Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state has revealed why he did not confirmed former acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Esther Asabe Karatu, saying it has nothing to do with her faith as being circulated in the media and her petition to the National Judicial Council, NJC.

Recall that Justice Karatu had earlier petitioned the NJC, insisting that despite being nominated to the position, the state governor blatantly refused to confirm her because she is a Christian.

But in a statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Abubakar Mu’azu Dakingari on Tuesday, the governor denied the allegation, describing it as laughable.

“The acting appointment of Justice Karatu under Section 271(4) of the Constitution lapsed on the 30th of January and was renewed for another three months by Governor Bagudu, without prompting, with effect from 31st January 2018; and for yet another three months.

“Honourable Justice Karatu was first presented to the Kebbi State House of Assembly for confirmation as Chief Judge by the Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu on 2 June 2018 sequel to the recommendation of the NJC. She was invited to the House of Assembly and appeared for the confirmation hearing on 1 August 2018.

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“Following which hearing, the House conveyed to the Governor their rejection of the appointment of Justice Karatu on the ground that there were alterations of dates observed on her Primary School Leaving Certificate, which she admitted.

According to the governor, her rejection by the lawmakers was based on the altercation of her date of birth from 9 May 1952 to 9 May 1954; alteration of date of issue of the Certificate from 12 January 1966 to 12 January 1967; and alteration of the year of completion of primary school from 1966 to 1967.

“In addition to the above alterations, the House also found that the Declaration of Age presented to the House by Justice Karatu contained a different date from the conflicting dates contained on the Primary School Leaving Certificate. The date of birth on the Declaration was 5 July 1954.

“Furthermore, the former acting Chief Judge, in her 17 August 2018 letter of appeal to the Governor, forwarded another copy of the Primary School Leaving Certificate she purportedly obtained from the Government of ‘Northern Nigeria” as a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the earlier presented Certificate. The said CTC contains 6 August 2018 as the date of issue. Also, on the CTC, the date of birth of Justice Karatu was indicated as 9 May 1954 and the previously observed alteration of the year of completion of primary school from 1966 to 1967 had miraculously disappeared.

“Justice Karatu is the one who presented all these documents. It is in her documents that three different dates of birth were ascribed to her: 9 May 1952, 9 May 1954 and 5 July 1954.

“The NJC Committee visited Kebbi State on 5 May 2019, during which visit the Committee interacted with the Governor, the former Acting Chief Judge and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, from whom the Committee established that the Kebbi State House of Assembly had never confirmed the appointment of Justice Karatu as Chief Judge of Kebbi State.

“Following the visit of the NJC Committee, Governor Bagudu again wrote the State House of Assembly on 7 May 2019 requesting another review of the decision of the House. The response of the House dated 15 May 2019 was to reaffirm its earlier position of rejection of Justice Karatu.

In the statement, Governor Bagudu said it is of utmost importance that relevant authorities pay attention to the way and manner facts are misrepresented in the media, as religion, a very sensitive and emotive subject to Nigerians is insidiously being employed as a tool to cause disharmony among the peace-loving people of Kebbi State.