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Kebbi Assembly reacts on non-confirmation of acting Chief Judge for ‘being Christian’

Speaker of the House of Kebbi State Assembly, Abdulmumin Ismaila Kamba, said lawmakers did not act against the confirmation of the interim presidential judge, judge Asabe Karatu, for being a Christian.

Kamba explained that it was not confirmed due to alleged alterations in his primary school abandonment certificate and that his date of birth was changed in the same certificate from May 1952 to May 1954.

Karatu had written a petition to the National Judicial Council concerning the alleged refusal of Governor Atiku Bagudu to confirm it as a first instance judge.

Reacting, the Speaker, in a statement, said: “The attention of the Kebbi State House of Assembly has been drawn to a story circulating in the social media with the title: “Kebbi female Acting Chief Judge petitions National Judicial Council over Governor Bagudu’s refusal to confirm her for being Christian.

“In it, it was alleged that the Kebbi State House of Assembly had written to the Kebbi State Governor confirming Justice Asabe Karatu as Chief Judge of Kebbi State on January 17th, 2019. This is not correct. There was never such a communication.

“The Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar A. Bagudu, wrote to the House on June 02, 2018 appointing Justice Asabe Karatu as Chief Judge and seeking the confirmation of the House as required by the constitution. Justice Asabe Karatu was invited by the House on August 1, 2018.

“During the confirmation hearing, which Justice Karatu attended in the company of some Higher Court Judges, it was observed by honourable members that the Primary School Leaving Certificate presented by Justice Karatu was altered severally, including alteration to the date of birth from May 1952 to May 1954. Justice Karatu accepted that she was aware of the alterations but that they were done by the Headmaster.

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“On account of the alterations and other inconsistencies in her credentials, the House rejected the request by the governor and declined to confirm her as Chief Judge of Kebbi State.

“Subsequently, and on three other occasions, the governor wrote and sought her confirmation. On all the occasions, the House maintained its refusal to confirm Justice Asabe Karatu as the Chief Judge of Kebbi State on account of the alterations and inconsistencies with the last of such rejection made by the House on May 15, 2019.”

The statement added: “For the record, under our Constitution, it is the House of Assembly and not the governor that has the power to confirm a chief judge.

“At no time did the House, at plenary or an Executive session, confirm the appointment of Justice Karatu as claimed in the social media story. The purported letter mentioned in the story said to be from the House of Assembly addressed to the governor was never written by the Kebbi State House of Assembly.

“The Kebbi State House of Assembly condemns the story in its entirety and there is no truth to allegation of religion as an issue in Kebbi State.”