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Ekwo Inyang, Nigerian judge, refuses to release record of strange injunctions he issued

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Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo

Three prominent Nigerians, Sir Celestine N. Omehia, Prince Uche Secondus and Rt. Hon. Austin A. Opara, have dragged a federal judge, Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo, to the Honourable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, over his refusal to release record of a judgement issuing alleged ridiculous injunctions.

Omehia’s complaint against Justice Inyang Ekwo

In his petition to the Honourable Chief Judge Federal High Court, dated April 29, 2024, Sir Omehia lamented his ‘inability to pursue his appeal in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/436/2024.

The complaint was tagged “Inability to pursue my appeal in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/436/2024 between Precious Wobisike vs Sir Celestine Omehia et 5 ors due to inability to transmit and compile record of proceedings foisted on me by Justice Inyang Ekwo“.

The case was between Precious Wobisike, Sir Omehia, a supposed former governor of Rivers State, and five others.

This is ‘due to his inability to transmit and compile record of proceedings foisted on him by Justice Inyang Ekwo’.

Sir Celestine N. Omehia

Sir Celestine N. Omehia

He stated: “On 8th April 2024, by late evening, I became aware of an injunctive order against my person from attending Peoples’ Democratic Party [PDP] statutory meeting holding from 17th to 18th April 2024.

“I did engage my lawyers, who confirmed the ex parte order of injunction and on 12th April 2024 took steps to appeal the injunctive order.

“[They] also applied for a certified true copy of the record of proceedings and applied for compilation and transmission of the records to the Court of Appeal.

“Unfortunately, I have been awfully frustrated by the Judge and court by the non-release of the file and its content and the applied certified true copy.”

The lamentations of Omehia

Omehia further lamented that Ekwo grossly made it impossible for him to prosecute his constitutional right of appeal and seek appropriate redress of the ex parte Order.

According to him, the order deprived him of his constitutional rights to associate and attend association meeting.

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“This matter has been adjourned and partly heard on the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th and 25th April 2024 with further adjournment to 30th April 2024, whilst I am not given my right to prosecute my appeal, he added.

Omehia, therefore, appealed to the Chief Judge as the administrative head of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

He urged him to ‘instruct Justice Inyang Ekwo and his court to cease from frustrating his appellate right.

He also demanded the immediate release of all documents that he had applied for in pursuit of his appeal.

To buttress his point, he attached the Notice of Appeal and applications for Certified True Copy.

He also demanded the compilation and transmission of the record of proceedings to the Court of Appeal.

Secondus’ petition

On his part, Prince Secondus, a former PDP chairman, in a petition also dated April 29, 2024, drew the attention of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to a similar fate.

The petition was entitled “Refusal to release documents to compile and transmit record of appeal by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Court No.5 Abuja in suit no: FHC/A0J/CS/440/2024 between Titus Jones vs Prince Uche Secondus and 7 ors“.

Prince Uche Secondus

Prince Uche Secondus

Secondus noted that an ex parte order of injunction was granted against his l mo statutory meeting of 17th and 18th April 2024.

Acting on his behalf, his lawyers, on 12th April 2024, filed an appeal against the ex parte order.

The lawyers also applied for the Certified True Copy of the record of proceedings and compilation and transmission of the records to Court of Appeal.

“As at the time of my writing, the court and the Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo has refused to release both the record of proceedings and the needed documents for compilation and transmission to Court of Appeal.

“This is a big trampling on my constitutional right and a deprivation of my rights of appeal,” Secondus lamented.

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He, therefore, urged His Lordship to use his good office to demand of Ekwo and the court to release the records and documents.

This, he said, will enable him to duly compile and transmit the records and prosecute his appeal.

He, likewise, attached his notice and grounds of the appeal.

He also applied for the certified true copy and compilation and transmission of records to Court of Appeal.

Opara drags Justice Ekwo

Dr. Opara, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, in a similar fashion and in a petition dated same, decried his inability to prosecute his appeal.

This was contained in his petition entitled “My inability to prosecute my appeal against an ex parte order of injunction granted against me by Justice Inyang Ekwo in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/438/2024 between Chisa Amadi vs Dr Austin A. Opara a 7 ors“.

Rt. Hon. Austin A. Opara

Rt. Hon. Austin A. Opara

The appeal was meant against the ex parte order of injunction granted against him by Justice Inyang Ekwo in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/438/2024, between Chisa Amadi, Dr. Austin A. Opara, and 7 others.

Dr. Opara lamented: “I am a former Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives of Nigeria which automatically entitles me to attend the statutory meetings of my party, Peoples Democratic Party (POP).

“On 8th April 2024, I heard the news of an ex parte order of injunction stopping me from attending PDP statutory meetings of 17th and 18th April, 2024.

“My lawyers did investigate and confirm to me the existence of the order and I promptly instructed them to take all legal steps to perfect my rights which had been breached.

“On 12th April 2024, my lawyer filed a valid appeal against the injunctive order and applied for the certified true copy of the record of proceedings and the compilation and transmission of the records to Court of Appeal.

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“I know I have a constitutional right of appeal and to be given the certified true copy of the ruling within 7 days thereafter of the ruling.

“These rights are being denied me and trampled upon by Justice Inyang Ekwo and his court by the refusal to accede to my applications/request.”

Opara’s demands

Opara, therefore, besought of the Chief Judge, to save him from this continuous and unwarranted humiliation.

He urged him to instruct the judge and the court to accede to his constitutional request to enable him prosecute his appeal without further delay.

He also attached the requisite documents and applications enumerated above. See the 3 petitions as attached below:

One of the three petitions against Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo One of the three petitions against Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo

Prof. Odinkalu reacts

 In the words of a former Chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Justice Ekwo issued “an implausible injunction”, forcing him to put away the record of judgement.

Reacting to the judge’s refusal to release the record of judgement, Prof. Odinkalu wondered why Ekwo is “refusing to release records”.

The purpose of the records, he noted, is to enable those against whom the ruling was issued to appeal accordingly.

The “victims have got tired of trying to wait” and eventually resorted to petition the court’s Chief Judge for redress.

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court is generally a court of original jurisdiction, presided over by a Chief Judge who is assisted by other Judges.

Information available at the moment of this publication, shows that Justice Ekwo is yet to comply to their requests.

He also has yet to clarify his reasons for withholding records of an injunction he personally issued.


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