Esther Asabe Karatu, acting chief judge of Kebbi state, has alleged that Governor Atiku Bagudu’s refused to confirm her as substantive chief judge of the state because she is a Christian. The acting chief judge reportedly disclosed this a petition she wrote to the National Judicial Council.
It was earlier reported that the Kebbi state House of Assembly also confirmed Karatu as substantive chief judge of the state, but the governor refused to act on the Assembly’s confirmation.
“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,” part of the letter the House wrote to the governor read.
Our correspondence gathered that Karatu, who is due to retire on July 5, was also said to have been denied right to swear-in the governor on May 29, as the governor reportedly opted for the Grand Khadi of the state, Muhtar Imam Jega.
“I have been working for 35 years up to the rank of permanent secretary and later became a judge but Justice Ambursa has never complained about my religion, in fact most of his victims are Muslims rather than Christians. I therefore believe that he is just using religion for his person gain.I was a Muslim before and all my Children are still devoted Muslims. I know what Islam is all about; it is religion of peace, fairness and justice.
“In its effort to harmonize my relationship with the governor, the NJC set up a committee of Reconciliation in May, 2019 to come to Kebbi to talk to the governor about my confirmation and swearing in.
However, before the arrival of the members of the committee, the attorney general, Ramatu Gulma who is an ally to Justice Ambursa went to the Birnin Kebbi Airport with government vehicles to receive the members,” her petition read in part.
Meantime, secretary to the Kebbi state government, Babale Yauri, insisted that the refusal not to confirm her was not because of her religion. He said the letter purportedly sent to the governor by the State Assembly is fake as it was not duly signed.
“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.