Umahi under serious heat for attacking judge

Umahi under serious heat for attacking judge

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi came under fire yesterday for his tirade against Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The judge, on Tuesday, ruled that the governor and his deputy, Eric Igwe, be sacked for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Justice Ekwo ordered 16 lawmakers in the House of Assembly, who defected from the PDP to the APC, to vacate their seats.

Faulting the judgment, Umahi accused the judge of being a “hatchet man”, who was “on a mission,” and implied that the judgment was “purchased”.

“We have petitioned him to NJC (National Judicial Council) and we will follow it up to ensure that this man is brought to justice,” Umahi added.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) demanded an apology from the governor and a retraction of the “offensive” comments.

Its president, Olumide Akpata, described the governor’s comments attacking the judiciary as “disgraceful, undemocratic and completely unacceptable.”

NBA said it was utterly dismayed by the Umahi’s “unfortunate and totally unacceptable” reaction to the judgment.

The statement reads in part: “Umahi…threw caution to the wind and deployed very uncomplimentary adjectives and intemperate language in characterising both the judgment and Hon. Justice Ekwo, including but not limited to describing the judgment as ‘jungle justice’ and His Lordship as ‘a hatchet man’.

“As if these were not enough, Engr. Umahi accused the court of ‘murdering justice’ and also arrogated to himself the judicial powers and magisterial authority to declare the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction as null and void while unashamedly declaring his intention to disregard the judgment in favour of another.

“To put it plainly, this is impunity of the highest order and executive rascality taken too far.”

Akpata said the leadership of the NBA was inundated with calls from well-meaning Nigerians who were outraged by Umahi’s utterances.

“It is for this reason that we condemn without equivocation, Engr. Umahi’s unfortunate diatribe which, if it had emanated from an average litigant, would still have been regarded as shocking but coming from one who occupies the exalted office of a State Governor, is nothing short of a national embarrassment.

“In the wake of the judgment, one would have expected Engr. Umahi to sue for calm from his supporters and to assure them that all legal and constitutional avenues would be explored to challenge the Judgment.

“For H.E. Engr. Umahi to instead resort to attacking and denigrating the high office of a judge in this unprecedented manner is disgraceful, undemocratic and completely unacceptable…

“We view Engr. Umahi’s reaction to this judgment as being consistent with the current penchant, on the part of those in the executive arm of government, for intimidating the Judiciary whilst taking advantage of the historical reluctance of that arm of government to rise to its own defence.

“In light of the foregoing, the NBA hereby demands an immediate apology from H.E. Engr. Dave Umahi and a retraction of the comments he made against the person and judgment of the Hon. Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court.

“It is also our demand that this apology and retraction be given as much media coverage as the press conference where the unfortunate comments were made.”

Speaking in Abakaliki, the state capital while addressing a crowd of residents who embarked on a solidarity walk for him, the governor said the PDP misled the judge.

Culled from The Nations News…

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