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Judge Escapes Violent Death In Nigeria

Judge Escapes Violent Death In Nigeria

A VACATION Judge in the Imo State axis of Eastern Nigeria, Justice Ngozi Opara, at the weekend, narrowly escaped death from some irate youths from Oguta State Constituency who invaded his court with an alleged intent to knock some senses into him.

Sources say the irate youths were up against a perceived injustice and flagrant abuse of the rule of Law.

AkanimoReports however, gathered on Sunday that Justice Opara, one of the vacation judges assigned to take charge while others enjoy their annual vacation, received an application for ex-parte motion from the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), a political party seeking an injunction to restrain Imo Speaker, Ben Uwajumogu, from swearing-in Chief Eugene Dibiagwu, as member representing Oguta constituency in the state House of Assembly.

Dibiagwu, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had scored 15,338 votes to floor candidates of the ruling APGA, Mr Walter Uzowunne, who scored 3401 and Henry Igbomeze, of the Action Congress Nigeria (ACN) with 2502 votes.

The result was a combined effect of April 26, 2011 and August 11, 2012 results in the four out of 11 electoral wards of; Uwaorie, Ndiuloukwu/Umuowerre, Obudi/Aro, and Mgbala/Uba.

The national electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared elections in the four wards in Oguta inconclusive after the April 2011 general election.

However, barrels of litigation heralded the emergency of a representative for Oguta as parties headed to court to determine whether an outright cancelation be made in the 11 wards or to uphold results of 7 out of the 11 wards where some PDP believed results were successfully returned before the Supplementary governorship election in Imo.

But the struggle ended June 25, 2012 following the decision of a Federal High Court sitting Owerri, and presided over by Justice Owo Ade which ruled that results of the 7 were valid.
Bent on subverting the mandate of Dibiagwu which finally came on August 11, the ruling APGA party in Imo came up with an experte motion on Aug.16 with Justice Opara serving as vacation judge to halt the swearing in.

Opara after allowing counsel in the matter to announce their appearances sat down without further talk and wrote for about 15 minutes before reading out to parties that he had re-assigned the application to the state Chief Judge.

He also stated that the Speaker of Imo should not swear-in Dibiagwu till the CJ resume his annual vacation even when no debate was held on the application.

Opara attributed his action to allegation by Mr Blandyn Amajuruonwu, PDP state Publicity Secretary of an envisage compromise in handling the application by the judge which according to him was aired in a local radio.

Sensing danger on the mood of over 7000 youths from Oguta who attended the session, Opara quickly rose from his seat without the normal norm of knocking on the table to announce the closure of court and ran into his chambers.

The act however triggered off hooting at the judge and throwing of stones, sachet water, sticks and other weapons at the judge’s chamber, damaging some window glasses among other.

Counsel to Dibiagwu, Chief Francis Uyimadu described as disappointing the conducting of Justice Opara, noting ``since my over 20 years of practice, Thursday was my first time to witness a judge being hooted,’’

Uyimadu how told Our reporter that he prepared to move a motion challenging the jurisdiction of a state High Court to entertain an application in a electoral matter where a certificate of return had already been issued.

''Combine effects of sections 185 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and sc.133 of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended forbids a High Court of handling such matter,’’ he argued.
An angry youth who refused to give his name accused Governor Rochas Okorocha of master-minding the illegality in order to deny Oguta people representation at the state assembly.

''Monthly allocation due Oguta LGA hovers between N75 million and N100 million. This is what Okorocha pockets monthly from our council alone that is why he does not council chairmen in 27 LGAs and our duly elected representative to be'', he said.

ENDS

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