Lawyer petitions NJC over refusal to hear case

Some aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia state, have petitioned the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of National Judicial Council (NJC), Olukayode Ariwoola, over an alleged refusal by a Federal High Court Judge in Umuahia to hear a pre-election matter.

Lawyer to the aggrieved members, Nnamdi U. Nwokocha Ahaaiwe, in the petition, said Justice Evelyn Anyadike, is delaying the hearing of the case.

Justice Anyadike gave the judgment on the 2022 Electoral Act in Umuahia, nullifying the exercise carried out by the National Assembly.

The case in question is between Mr. Ndudi Nwagbara and six others, versus the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The petitions said they had written to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court since 27th of July, 2022.

They said a follow-up letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court dated the 15th day of August 2022 was also written

They said a “perusal of the aforesaid communication will show that the gravamen of our complaint is that contrary to the express and extant directives of both the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Practice Directions issued by the Chief Judge of the
Federal High Court, our case was adjourned from the 21st day of July 2022 to the 30th day of September 2022 by the Federal High Court 1, Umuahia, which proceeded on Vacation, contrary to the extant directives that all Courts hearing pre-election matters should not go on vacation until they conclude the cases pending before them which ought to be heard on a day-to-day basis.”

Continuing, the petition read: “In view of the fact that the Court hearing, the judge matter had proceeded on vacation contrary to the extant directives, we applied to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria to assign the case to any vacation Court in Nigeria for hearing in view of the several steps still to be taken in the matter

“Our clients are in very great distress and alarmed at this development. Their political opponents in Abia State against whom the case is filed have been boasting that they have arranged to have the case expire by effluxion of time since they have no answer to the merits of the case.

“By the 30th day of September 2022, when hearing in the case is set to resume if nothing urgent is done, there will be barely a month and nine days to the expiration of the constitutionally regulated lifespan of the case.

“Indeed, the 2nd and 3rd defendants have not even entered appearance or if they have, none has been served on us four months after the commencement of a pre-election case, lending credence to the fears of our clients that something fishy is definitely going on.

“In view of the foregoing, we urge you sir to give appropriate directives, which will not only safeguard the legitimate lawful right of our clients to a quick and unhindered access to Court, but also protect the image, integrity and reputation of the judiciary at large.”