Eye witness reports
Ebonyi State Government has denied the allegation that Governor David Umahi attempted to bribe Hon. Justice Mabel Taiye Segun-Bello of the Federal High Court, Abakaliki, to grant stay of execution of the judgment that disbanded Ebubeagu Security outfit and described it as unfounded.
The State Attorney-general and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Cletus Ofoke, in a press conference, on Friday, said not until the factional Ohanaeze Youth Council led by Igboayaka came up with the allegation, Governor Umahi never knew about the existence of Federal High Court Abakaliki, Court 2, let alone meeting or having any discussion with the Judge.
According to him, the Governor never did any of such as he cannot descend so low to the extent of asking a Judge to grant stay of execution, when the party(ies) dissatisfied with the judgment are/is going on Appeal.
“And when the application is refused, the appellate court may still hear and grant it to avoid rendering the Appeal nugatory if it succeeds. And so, it does not worth dissipating such energy at this stage.
“Contrary to the fallacious statement of the so called Ohanaeze Youth Council, Governor David Nweze Umahi as a firm believer in the principle of Rule of Law; shortly after the judgment of Justice Riman, announced that although, there is another earlier judgment of a court of coordinate jurisdiction which declared that Ebubeagu Security Agency was a lawful outfit; the Ebonyi State Government was obeying the latter judgment until the case was finally determined; and that the outfit should cease to operate forthwith.
“The question is how can a leader who made public and ensured the immediate implementation of his directive and Government position, go through the back door to seek for the stay of execution of such judgment? For record purpose, the primary aim of Government everywhere is the protection of lives and properties of its citizens.
“This, the present Government in Ebonyi State, under Engr. David Nweze Umahi, CON has been doing since 2015, giving rise to the relative peace and security Ebonyi State is enjoying today as the most secured State in the South East.
“While not holding brief for Hon. Justice Bello and assuming but certainly not conceding to the fact that the Judge lodges at Osborne La-Palm Royal Resort, I do not know of any law or rule or code of conduct that prevents a Judge from lodging in a hotel of his/her choice or owned by a Governor’s relation or in which a Governor has “interest”, Ofoke added.
Mr Ofoke who said the state government was considering seeking a legal redress, said: “I do presume that the “Ohanaeze Youth Council” leadership understands the consequences of character assassination, malicious publication and defamation especially the one targeted at a Jurist.
“As the Chief Law Officer and leader of the Bar in Ebonyi State, I cannot fold my hands and watch riffraff drag the hard earned reputations of a world class leader of Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi, CON, FNTE, FNATE and that of a Judge into a mud. The so called Youth Organization should be courteous, civil and factual in her outburst.
On the alleged purchase of a private Jet in 2018 by Governor Umahi using State Government’s funds, Mr Ofoke said the allegation is not only false but a calculated attempt to pinch the good people of Ebonyi State against Governor Umahi.
“I make bold to reiterate the popular legal aphorism that He who alleges must prove. I therefore challenge and it is incumbent on Nwoba Chika Nwoba or any other person alleging to make available the particulars and details of the private Jet to the public for easy appreciation by Ebonyi people and members of the public. People who dish out these unscrupulous, vicious, cruel and malevolent posts should better watch their backs as Law is no respecter of any person.
“The Government will continue to put measures in place to ensure that her citizens and their properties are secured and no amount of blackmail and propaganda shall stop this,” Ofoke warned.
Recall that the Federal High Court Abakaliki presided by Justice Fatun Riman had on 14th February, 2023, disbanded Ebubeagu Security outfit following an action instituted by the former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, and Chieftian of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Abia Onyike.
Eye witness reports