The Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice (Obol) Okoi Ikpi Itam is dead.
According to a family source, he passed away in the early house of Saturday after a brief illness.
Condoling the bereaved family, Governor Ben Ayade, accompanied by his wife Dr Lynda Ayade, Speaker, Mr. John Gaul Lebo, and members of the state executive council, described the late Chief Judge of the state as “a wonderful, peaceful man who would always go for the option of peace.”
According to the governor, the death of Itam could be likened to “a brick falling on you from the mountain top,” considering the wonderful and fantastic relationship that existed between his family and that of the deceased as well as the cordiality shared between the executive and judicial arms of government in the state.”
Ayade disclosed that on hearing of the deceased challenging health, he made frantic effort to ensure that he was moved overseas for treatment, a move which the cruel hands of death did not allow the late Chief Judge to benefit.
“The worst thing that can happen to you is to have a man that you just had a meeting between the executive and judiciary to resolve all challenges on a good note and two days later, you are told that he is no more. There can’t be a greater shock than this, and that is the way of mortals which shouldn’t have been,” Ayade remarked.
Ayade who got emotional, said: “I have always accused death for not knowing who to pick. Why won’t death go for the kidnappers? Why won’t death go for those who bring pain and agony to the people? Why will it be somebody who administers justice, bring tranquility, peace and order in the society?”
Continuing, Ayade said: “Death doesn’t even have eyes, it doesn’t even have a sense of feeling. If it does, it would have known that it made a very wrong choice.”
He said that the death of the State Chief Judge has gone a long way to reveal the nothingness in the world, urging the bereaved family and the entire people of the state to be consoled by the legacies he left behind.
Justice Okoi Ikpi Itam was born on 18th may 1954 in Ugep Urban in Yakurr Local Government Area. After his primary Education, he attended Community Secondary Grammar School, Ugep in 1971 and subsequently moved to University of Nsukka and obtained Bachelor of law degree and was called to bar in 1977.
He has held many positions within and outside the country which include Chairman Local Government Council election tribunal in 1991, Judge High Court of the State also in 1991, Chairman Public Funds and Property Recovery Tribunal, Cross River State 1992- 1997, Judge High Court of Gambia 2000, Judge Advocate for Gambia Armed Forces General Court Martial between 2001- 2004 Acting Chief Justice of Gambia 2002, Justice of the Gambia Court of Appeal 2003- 2004 and Chairman Presidential Commission of enquiry into the Administration activities of the auditor General of Gambia in 2001 among others.