Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Wednesday swore in Justice Afojulu Ozoemena as the acting Chief Judge of the state.
Mr Ugwuanyi said the move became necessary following the retirement of Justice Ngozi Emehelu, the immediate-past Chief Judge of the Igbo predominant state.
He said the decision was also based on the order of seniority of the Judges of Enugu High Court as confirmed by the National Judicial Council (NJC) via its letter Ref. No. NJC/S.14/HC.EN/9/1/228 dated September 1, 2021.
The governor stated that the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended, did not contemplate that vacancy should exist in the office of the Chief Judge of a State given the sensitivity of the office and its functions.
He added that section 271 sub-section 4 of the Constitution empowers the Governor of a State to appoint the most senior Judge of the High Court to perform the functions of a Chief Judge of a State if vacancy occurs in the position until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office.
He thereafter congratulated Justice Ozoemena over his appointment, expressing confidence that he will bring his juristic erudition, diverse experience and gravitas to bear on the administration of the Enugu State Judiciary.
Justice Ozoemena, while responding, thanked God for making it possible for him to be sworn in and appreciated the governor, who he said he holds in high esteem over his elevation.
The jurist also solicited for the maximum support of Judges and other officials of the Judiciary as accorded to his predecessor.