PDP lawyers petition CJ, others over delayed Appeal suit

The Fred Udeogu-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ebonyi state, Thursday petitioned the state Chief Judge, Justice Anselem Nwigwe for allegedly delaying transmission of Appeal Court suits filed against it by the dissolved State Working Committee of the party.

They alleged that the state governor David Umahi through his brother Barrister Roy Umahi who is representing Onyekachi Nwebonyi’s faction of the party in court decided to frustrate submission of Appeal suit No. HAB/161/2020 to the Appeal court Enugu.

National Working Committee of PDP had November 2020 dissolved the State Working Committee of the party led by Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi and constituted a Caretaker Committee with Chief Fred Udeogu named as its Chairman.

The dissolution, however, angered the dissolved State Working Committee which in turn dragged the NWC and the Caretaker Committee of the party to the state High court with the Chief Judge presiding over the matter.

The said suit was first given to Justice Elvis Ngele court who declined jurisdiction of the case and was transferred to the Chief Judge who finally transferred it to Justice Vincent Nwanchor by the Chief Judge following the demand by the Caretaker Committee of the party.

Since then, the matter has continued to linger in court while the Caretaker Committee filled an Appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the matter.

According to a petition signed by Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Chief Fred Udeogu dated 6th January,2021 and made available to journalists in Abakaliki on Thursday, the Committee said “we filed Notice of Appeal and motion for stay of proceeding on 21st December, 2020.

Arrangements were made to process and transmit records to the Court of Appeal, Enugu State. Thus the Head, Appeal Department of Ebonyi High Court, issued form 3 to the proposed respondents to appear for settlement of records on the 24th day of December, 2020.

“On the said 24th December, 2020, the respondents were absent and the HOD Appeal asked that the appellant make payment for processing and transmitting the records. Upon the request of the HOD, we made deposit through one of our counsel, Mazi M. Igbo.

“Following further request of the HOD, we transferred the balance of the money for the processing and transmitting record of Appeal through our Secretary, Barr. Luke Nkwegu to the HOD on the 27th day of December, 2020, with the assurance that the record would be transmitted on the 29th December, 2020.

“To our surprise, however, on the 28th day of December, 2020, Information began to filter in that Mr Roy Nweze, the elder brother to Ebonyi state Governor and one of the counsel to the proposed respondent in the appeal had boasted that they would frustrate our appeal and that nobody would process or transmit our records until they got interlocutory injunction.

“My Lord, ever since the HOD received the balance of the money for processing and transmitting the records, he has simply and dramatically turned to constitute a cog in the wheel of the process of transmitting the records. He has now abandoned the already processed records and switched off all his mobile lines. Our Secretary explained to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the High Court on the 5th day of January, 2021 and before him the DCR made several attempts to reach the Appeal HOD to no avail as his numbers were switched off.

“ My Lord, it is pertinent to state here that the record of Appeal in this matter is over ripped to be transmitted to Court of Appeal having fulfilled all the requirements and in view of the nature of the case involved.

“It is uncalled for and highly uncautionable for staff of the judiciary to surrender himself as an instrument to be used to derail the course of justice and deny us our right to explore remedies provided in the law within the time we need it.

“The HOD and his cohort have sworn that they will not transmit our record of Appeal till after 18th day of January, 2021 when the substantive matter is adjourned to so as to shut us out of exercising our right to enable them secure interlocutory injunction against us. This, to say the least, is travesty of justice which we will fight against with the last drop our blood.

“We implore you to use your good offices to call the HOD Appeal to order and prvail on him to transmit our records between today Wednesday the 6th day of January, 2021 and tomorrow Thursday 2021, failure which we shall be compelled to make report to the appropriate quarters”.

When contacted Roy Umahi denied ever conniving with anybody on the suit.

He said, “I didn’t even know about any appeal until now, you see the bailiff who served me the notice of appeal had just left here now, so how can I be working against what I don’t know about.

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