From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has threatened to drag the Chief Judge of Ebonyi State High Court and some officials of the court before the National Judicial Council (NJC) over alleged unlawful acts to frustrate its appeal.
In a petition addressed to the Chief Judge of the Ebonyi State High Court, dated January 6, 2021, the PDP specifically complained against the ‘unlawful connivance and underhand activities to frustrate its appeal in suit No: HAB/161/2020 between Chief Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi & 2 Ors vs PDP and 11 Ors by Mr Ezinwa Ogudu, the Head, Appeal Department of the High Court.’
The petition signed by Elder Fred Udeogu, Caretaker Chairman of the state chapter of the PDP, chronicled the alleged acts of Ogudu to prevent the party from exercising it’s right to explore remedies provided in law within the time it needed to do so.
The petitioner accused Ogudu of derailing its appeal process by refusing to process and transmit the record of appeal after the party has paid the requisite fee for the process.
It reads in part: ‘Following the ruling on preliminary issues bothering jurisdiction raised by our counsel, Chief KCO Njamanze (SAN), on the 21st day of December 2020, we filed a notice of appeal and motion for stay of proceedings same day.
‘Arrangements were made to process and transmit records to the court of Appeal, Enugu State. Thus, the Head, Appeal Department of Ebonyi High Court, Mr Ezinwa Ogudu, issued Form 3 to the proposed respondents to appear for settlement of records on the 24th day of December 2020.
‘On the said 24th day of December 2020, the respondents were absent and the Head of Department (HOD), Appeal, asked that the appellant make payment for processing and transmitting the records. Upon the request of the HOD, we made a deposit through one of our counsel, Mazi M Igbo.
‘Following the further request of the HOD, we transferred the balance of the money for 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.
‘Ever since Mr Ezinwa received the balance of the money for processing and transmitting of 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 complained to the Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR), of the High Court on January 5, 2021, and before him, the DCR made several attempts to reach the HOD Appeal 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 the Court of Appeal having fulfilled all the requirements and in view of the nature of the case involved.
‘It is uncalled for and highly unacceptable for the staff of the Judiciary to surrender himself as an instrument to be used to derail the cause of justice and deny us our right to explore remedies provided in the law within the time we need it.
‘Mr Ezinwa and his cohort have sworn that they will not transmit our record to the Court of Appeal till after January 18, 2021, when the substantive matter is adjourned as to short us out of exercising our right to enable them to secure an interlocutory injunction against us as they claim.
‘We employee you to use your good office to call the HOD, Appeal, Mr Ezinwa Ogudu, to order and prevail on him to transmit our records between today Wednesday the 6th day of January 2021 and Thursday, January 7, 2021, failure which we shall be compelled to make a report to the appropriate quarters.’