The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ebonyi State, on Thursday, accused the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, Mr. Emmanuel Gakko Abuja, of undermining the integrity and jurisdiction of the court.
Chairman of the PDP committee in the State, Hon. Fred Udeeogu made the claims in a statement made available to NAIJALOADED.
He said it was prejudicial for the Chief Registrar to set up an administrative panel over issues, with suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1609/202, already before the Federal High Court for adjudication.
Parties in the suit include: Hon. Fred Udeogu and ten others, (plaintiffs), as well as Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi, for himself and as representing members of the dissolved Ebonyi State PDP Executive Committee, as defendants.
It was gathered that upon an application by the plaintiffs, the presiding judge, Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo, had given an order directing that the originating processes and all other subsequent processes in the matter be served on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants by substituted means to wit: by pasting at the gate of Osborne La Palm Hotel, Kpirikpiri Road, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
However, the plaintiffs said even after the court order had been complied with, the defendants returned to the court claiming that they were yet to be served.
Udeogu said the defendants had gone to the extent of conniving with the Court registrar to put the bailiff on probe.
His statement read:
“The purported story by Roy Nwaeze, the brother to the governor of Ebonyi State, and a counsel on record in the said matter, which he has been circulating online about the non-service of the court processes on his clients, is false, and a calculated attempt to malign the Hon Fred Udeogu-led caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi in State.
The Federal High Court, Judge, Justice I. Ekwo, on the 16th day of December 2020, granted an order, directing that the originating processes and all other subsequent processes in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1609/2020, be served on the 1st -3rd Defendants by substituted means, by pasting same at the gate of Osborne La Palm Hotel, Abakiliki.
The Bailiff of the Federal High Court, who went to serve the court process was arrested by the security at the hotel despite the fact that he showed his ID card as officer of court and also presented the order of the court to the said security who subsequently released him.
The processes were served by pasting at the gate of Osborne La Palm Hotel as directed by the Court, and pictures of the Bailiff of the court taken, while he was pasting the processes at the gate of the Hotel. Despite the service of the Originating Summons on the 1st -3rd Defendants, and their awareness of the pendency of the suit, they neglected to appear before the court, as they had so much confidence that they will muscle their way through and get ready made judgment from the High Court of Ebonyi State under the governor who just decamped to APC.
It was only when it became clear to them that they could not force the High Court of Ebonyi State into doing their ungodly bidding, that they now resurfaced at the Federal High Court Abuja, claiming ignorance of the court processes.
It is on record that Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi, through Roy Nwaeze, the brother to the governor of Ebonyi State, denied ever having any meeting at the said Osborne La Palm Hotel, Abakiliki, in their motion asking the court to set aside the service on them. The Hon Fred Udeogu-led Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State, filed counter to the motion on notice, filed by Roy Nwaeze, to set aside the interlocutory order against his clients, and service of the court processes on them.
In the said affidavit, evidence clearly showed that the said Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi and his dethroned former executive committee members of the PDP in Ebonyi State, had in fact, constantly held meetings at the said Osborne La Palm Hotel Abakiliki. Given this revelation, rather than wait for the motion to be heard and a determination made by the court, the same Roy, changed course and resorted to attacking the innocent bailiffs of the court.
While the motion filed by Roy Nwaeze the governor’s brother was subsisting and pending in court, he muscled his way through the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, Mr. Emmanuel Gakko, and made false accusations against the Bailiffs of the court, to the effect that the court processes served on the 1st -3rd Defendants, by the Bailiffs of the court, were no longer served.
It is unfortunate that the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, whom we understand had previous grouse against the Bailiff who served the court processes, took advantage of the situation to immediately set up a committee to try the said Bailiff in accordance with the dictates of Roy Nwaeze the governor’s brother.
It is unfortunate that the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, who himself is a lawyer, could not wait for the determination of the motion filed by the same Roy Nwaeze, challenging the service of the process of the court, on the 1st -3rd Defendants, before rushing, due to his animosity against the said Bailiff, and pressure by Roy Nwaeze, to set up a panel to try the Bailiff.
The action of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court was done in bad faith, and undermines the integrity and jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, before whom the same issue has been brought for adjudication.
Why was the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court in such a haste to set up a panel? Why did he not wait for the court to determine the same issue which has been submitted to court? Why was Roy Nwaeze privy to the proceedings of the Panel, even while he was still in court, when the matter was being heard by the said panel?
These are all questions begging for answers. It is most unfortunate that the same Roy Nwaeze, is the one now sending messages to the lawyers on record in the matter, informing them of the proceedings of the panel, and that the Bailiff will soon be dismissed, even when there has been no determination to that effect.
We call on the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to intervene on this matter, to save the integrity of the judiciary.
The Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, in conjunction with Roy Nwaeze, are now making a determination of matters already pending before the court administratively, without allowing the court to reach a verdict one way or the other.
It is therefore in view of the foregoing that we deny categorically the false and malicious publications sponsored by Roy Nwaeze, alleging that the court processes in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1609/2020, were not served on the 1st – 3rd Defendants.”