APGA Petitions NJC over Enugu Judge

The All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA has written a petition to the National Judicial Council NJC against an Enugu High Court Judge, Justice A. R. Ozoemenam, who handled a case on the intra-party crisis rocking the party.

In the petition dated July 28, the party sought the intervention of the NJC and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the order of mandamus by Justice Ozoemenam, and if found guilty, should sanction him.

According to a copy, Our reporter gathered yesterday from a reliable party source who confirmed that the CJN had written back to the party acknowledging the receipt of the petition, and assured them that action was being taken on the matter.

When contacted to give an update on the issue, the National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Oye, said the party saw the action of the judge as totally uncalled for and embarrassing to the law.

Oye said: “I was taken aback because I know that mandamus order should come based on an earlier order that has been brazenly flouted. That is when the mandamus order is issued to compel the authorities to ensure that the judgement is implemented. But in this case, there was no previous order or judgement.

So from where did he get the judgment? Therefore, we thought that the order was fraudulently obtained because those involved did everything to make it impossible for us to get the order vacated.”
Oye explained that he was abroad when the news came that an Enugu High Court headed by Justice Ozoemenam issued an order of mandamus against him in favour of Martin Agbaso.

He accused Agabso of colluding with the judge to frustrate the efforts of the party to get the order vacated, adding that what was brought before the High Court was an application for a judicial review that would have led to the issuance of order of mandamus.

“I was scandalised because both of us were not parties to the suit. The suit was instituted by one Mark Alioke against the Inspector General of Police (IG). INEC and Commissioner of Police in Enugu State,” he said.

On why the party has applied to NJC , Oye said: “We are seeking the intervention of the NJC to deal with this corrupt judge and show that he has exhibited incompetence in handling the case
“We believed that what was before the Justice Ozoemenam was a judicial review but the judge went ahead to give an order of mandamus.

“We had to go to the Court of Appeal to be joined as a party in the case and the appeal court in its wisdom had to joined me. The court on August 16, while listening to all arguments from both parties, had its judgment despite move by Agabso and his group to slam a stay of execution to scuttle the Appeal Court judgement.

“I have never seen that kind of thing in my life. Our position is that the man is not qualified to be a judge and should be sacked.”

Meanwhile, the Anambra State legal adviser of APGA, Mr. Sly Ezeokenwa, has dismissed rumours that the Martin Agbaso faction of the party obtained any order of stay of execution stopping Oye as the national chairman of the party.

Ezeokeokenwa insisted that the August 16 Appeal Court verdict which affirmed Oye as the authentic National Chairman of APGA still stands.

The state legal officer who spoke to journalists yesterday, explained that the Supreme Court is on recess and would resume for a new legal year about middle of September and could not have issued any stay of execution to Agbaso and his men.

He added that there was no vacation panel constituted by the Supreme Court, stressing that the court needed to sit to issue such an order.

The Nigeria Lawyer