… As Abuja Federal High Court restrains Nwebonyi, others from parading selves as PDP Excos
Scores of political thugs believed to be loyal to the Ebonyi State government, today, stormed the premises of the Ebonyi State High Court, Abakaliki to protest the decision of a Judge, Justice Vincent Nwanchor to recuse himself from entertaining a suit brought before it by the Chairman of the dissolved leadership of the People’s Democratic Party in Ebonyi State, Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi.
9NEWS NIGERIA recalls that Justice Nwanchor had while throwing in the towel as the third Judge in a row to reject the bidding of the plaintiffs in suit No: HAB/161/2020 after his brother Judges; the State’s Chief Judge, Justice Anselm Nwigwe and Justice Elvis Ngene had towed similar paths acceded to one of a two-point of facts contained in a motion on notice brought by the 8th Defendant and also a lead counsel in the suit, Barr. Mudi Erhenede.
The Defense counsels had contended that there would be a strong likelihood of bias by Justice Nwanchor if he goes ahead to hear the suit due to his close relationship with the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Barr. Eric Kelechi Igwe who hails from the same Ikwo community and electoral ward with him.
“I agree with the fact that the defense counsel is right. I will not deny the fact that His Excellency- the Deputy Governor is my brother. We come from the same community, and that it will affect ruling on this case which it has not. I therefore wish to throw in the towel as I recuse myself from this matter. I shall return the case file to the Court’s registrar”, the Judge had ruled.
However, less than 24 hours after the said ruling which was welcomed by counsels to the Defendants and lack of boldness by Judges who had presided over it by counsel to the Plaintiff in their separate Press interviews, a group of political thugs numbering over 100 besieged the Court premises to register their anger over the ruling.
A Judiciary staff who simply identified himself as Mr. Cletus said it took the intervention of the Police to wade off the protesters and stop them from gaining access into the various Court divisions which had already commenced sitting.
Said the source, “they were chanting ‘we no go gree’ o, ‘we no gree!’ as they attempted to make their way into Courts that were already in session. But the Police was later able to stop them from gaining entrance into the Court rooms and pushed them out of the gate. We were panicking before but the area is a bit calm for now”.
When this reporter visited the Court premises, no courts were in session. “The Court is no longer sitting”, said a Magistrate who had asked him his mission in the Court.
Court officials were however seen around and within the Court premises discussing in tensed moods.
Meanwhile, an Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice E. I Ekwo has granted an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the sacked Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party in Ebonyi State, Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi and five others from parading themselves as members of the State Executives of the Party.
Granting the order sequel to a motion on notice in Suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/1609/2020, between Hon. Fred Udeogu and 11 others V. Barr.
Onyekachi Nwebonyi (for himself and as representing members of the dissolved Ebonyi State PDP Executive Committee) and 5 others, Justice Ekwo restrained the Local Government and Ward Executives from not only parading themselves but also using the State Secretariat of the PDP in Ebonyi or any of its property still in their custody.
“An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants from in whatsoever manner parading, holding or continuing to parade or hold themselves out either individually or collectively as officers of the 11th Plaintiff or members of the State, Local Government Area and or Ward Executive Committees of the 11th Plaintiff in Ebonyi State pending the hearing and determination of this suit”
The Court equally ordered the Police and INEC to desist from giving any form of recognition whatsoever from all the restrained parties.
It reads: “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 4th and 5th Defendants, their Servants, Agents and/or Officers from in whatsoever manner according recognition to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants as officers from in whatsoever manner according recognition to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants as officers of the 11th Plaintiff, pending the determination of this suit”.
The matter has further been adjourned to the 4th of February, 2021 for the hearing of the substantive suit.