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HomeMetro NewsNBA, SERAP slam Ebonyi Governor Umahi over comments on justice Ekwo

NBA, SERAP slam Ebonyi Governor Umahi over comments on justice Ekwo

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has slamed the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi for “threw caution to the wind and deployed very uncomplimentary adjectives and intemperate language in characterising both the Judgment and Hon. Justice Ekwo“ on the ruling which order his removal from office.

The Federal High Court in Abuja had on Tuesday ordered that both Umahi and his deputy should vacate their offices over their defection from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

The judge, Ekwo held that the 393,042 votes polled by Umahi in the March 2019 governorship election belonged to the PDP and cannot be legally transferred to the APC.

Umahi said he was not surprised that the judge delivered the judgement in favour of the main opposition PDP, adding, “(Justice Inyang) Ekwo was charged and needed to discharge.”

He said Ekwo was on a mission to embarrass the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Federal Government, saying, “I feel sorry for the Nigerian judiciary.”

However, in his reaction to the judgment, the Ebonyi governor said nobody could remove him from office and described the judge as a “hatchet man.”

In a statement on Wednesday, NBA president, Olumide Apata said the governor’s comment “is impunity of the highest order and executive rascality taken too far.”

“While the NBA has absolutely no interest in the outcome of the case in question and will continue to stay away from partisan politics, it is inconceivable that this Association that is charged with upholding the rule of law and defending the Judiciary would sit idly by in the face of this unprovoked and totally unwarranted attack on the Judiciary.

“Indeed, the leadership of the NBA has been inundated with calls from a cross-section of well meaning Nigerians who are understandably outraged by the utterances of Dave Umahi and who have rightly demanded that appropriate action be taken to protect the sanctity of the Judiciary.

READ ALSO: Ebonyi Governor, deputy appeal judgment which orders their removal from office

“It is for this reason that we condemn without equivocation, 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 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 Umahi to instead resort to attacking and denigrating the high office of a Judge in this unprecedented manner is disgraceful, undemocratic and completely unacceptable,” Akpata wrote in the statement.

He said “the NBA hereby demands an immediate apology from 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.”

Also, in the same measure, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) condemned the attack by the governor on the judge and asked his to end his smear campaign against the judge.

“We condemn the blatant attack by governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State on Hon. Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, over the court order sacking him from office. Umahi must end the smear campaign against Justice Ekwo, and attack on the rule of law,” SERAP wrote in a Tweet on Wednesday.

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