PDP crisis: Lawyers protest in Ebonyi over delay in transmission of appeal record

Lawyers numbering over 20, yesterday protested at Ebonyi state high Court Abakaliki over alleged delay in the transmission of Appeal Records in the suit filed by the dissolved State Working Committee of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, against the Caretaker Committee of the party set up by its National Working Committee.

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

Angered by the dissolution, the dissolved State Working Committee dragged the NWC and the Caretaker Committee of the party to the state High court with the Chief Judge presiding over the matter.

The suit was later transferred to another Judge in the court, Justice Elvis Ngele and finally 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 filed an Appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the matter.

Yesterday, over 20 Lawyers believed to be working for the Caretaker Committee, stormed the offices of the state Chief Judge, Justice Anselem Nwigwe, Chief Registrar of the State High Court and Deputy Chief Registrar to protest the alleged delay in the transmission of the Appeal Records by Head of Department, Record Appeals of the High Court.

The Lawyers who were led by Michael Igbo and Luke Nkwegu who is one of the defendants in the suit against the Caretaker Committee the PDP, expressed sadness over the delay in the transmission of the Appeal Records.

He said: “We feel very bad about this seeming delay in the transmission of our Appeal Records, it’s a travesty of justice and threat to our democracy. Some people feel that they can manipulate everything, it shows the level of decay, the extent to which somebody thinks that he can manipulate everything around. It is indeed sad, it is sad story. We are going to fight with the last drop of our blood legally to achieve justice”, they said.

The Lawyers urged the Chief Judge to compel the HOD of Appeal Records, Mr. Ezinwa Ogudu to without further delay, transmit the Appeal Records to the Appeal Court in Enugu to enable the Caretaker Committee get justice on the matter.They accused Ogudu of conniving with the enemies of the PDP in the state to hijack the cause of justice and kill the party.

Ogudu, however was not in office when contacted. His two mobile phone lines were switched-off.

Meanwhile, Fred Udeogu led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has petitioned the state Chief Judge, Justice Anselem Nwigwe over the alleged delay in the transmission of the Appeal records in the suit filed against it by the dissolved State Working Committee of the party.

In the petition signed by Udeogu himself, dated 6th January,2021 and made available to journalists in Abakaliki yesterday, 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 34th 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 the 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.

“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 unacceptable for 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.

“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”. ENDS

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