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EXCLUSIVE: Group Seeks Probe Of Justice I.E Ekwo Over Ex Parte Order Against NYSC On PDP’s Peter Mbah’s NYSC Discharge Certificate.

Peter Mbah.

A group, “Total for the Rule of Law and Justice Initiative”, has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC), calling for the investigation of a judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice I.E. Ekwo over the ex-parte order he recently issued, restraining the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) from issuing further disclaimers on the controversial discharge certificate of the Enugu State governor-elect, Peter Mbah.

In the petition, dated May 18, 2023, and signed by Ayomide Faith Olowooba, the group, which referred to an earlier petition by the Enugu State chapter of the Labour Party, said the ex parte order granted by Justice Ekwo was aimed to discredit and suppress the evidence of forgery and perjury against Mbah in the pending case against him at the Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Enugu.

It will be recalled that Peter Mbah has been embroiled in controversy following allegations that the NYSC discharge certificate that he submitted t the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was forged. The NYSC, in two letters, released between February and April 2023, repudiated the certificate.

Following the controversy raised by the issue, Mbah, through his lawyers, Emeka Ozoani, SAN, had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, where Justice Ekwo, in a controversial ruling, gave an ex parte order, restraining the NYSC or its staff and agencies, from further disclaimers on Mbah’s discharge certificate.

In seeking the probe of Justice Ekwo, the group alleged, in the letter to the NJC, that the intention of plaintiff, was to suppress evidence while also frustrating the case of the Labour Party at the tribunal.

“We are yet to understand why a judge would grant an ex parte order of this magnitude in a case with political flavour which is also pending at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Enugu without ordering that the government institution (NYSC) be put on notice so as to confirm if the said disclaimer by the NYSC was rightly issued or not,” the petition read in part.

The group further claimed they could not understand the urgency that informed the granting of the ex parte order considering that the disclaimer by the NYSC was issued pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, three months before the suit was filed.

“We are aware that the courts all over have consistently warned against the grant of ex parte orders on political matters, especially those without any iota of urgency in them, just like the case under review,” the group said, and called on the Chairman of NJC to give “every desired attention to the petition earlier sent by the Labour Party, so a to ensure that the confidence of the Nigerian people is restored in our judicial system.

In its own petition, the Labour Party also reminded the NJC that those who sought to authenticate the validity of Peter Mbah’s NYSC discharge certificate also relied on the FOI Act and wondered why Justice Ekwo derived his jurisdictional powers to interfere in the cause of action that’s already pending before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“The interim injunction as granted {by Justice Ekwo} is aimed at forcing the National Youth Service Corps to accept authorship of a forged discharge certificate that did not emanate from the office. The order is aimed at denying the public the right of access to public documents guaranteed them under the Freedom of Information Act,” the petition signed by the Enugu State Chairman of Labour Party, Barr Casmir Agbo, and Secretary, Barr Simon Akachukwu, stated.

Stating that the Order gives a judicial imprimatur to criminality, Enugu Labour Party said Justice Ekwo has exposed himself as “a person who is no longer qualified to be on the dignified seat of our judicial system.”

It called on the NJC to urgently investigate the matter and save the Nigerian judiciary from disrepute.


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