The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Ebonyi State, Hon Fred Udeogu has written a letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John Tsoho seeking his intervention in an ongoing matter in the court which is likely to lead to denial of justice.
In the letter dated 19th February, 2021, Hon. Udeogu explained, with evidence duly attached, the course of events in the case he had instituted through his counsel at the Federal High Court.
The letter is reproduced below:
The Chief Judge, Federal High Court, Federal High Court Complex, Abuja.
A Case of Obstruction of the Course of Justice, Usurpation of the Powers of the Judge of the Federal High Court, and Conducts Likely to Undermine the Integrity and Jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, against the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, Emmanuel Gakko, In Suit No: FHC/ABKS/1609/2020 Between Hon Fred Udeogu & 10 Ors v. Barr Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi & 4 Ors
My Lord sir, I am a party on record in the suit above, pending before Hon. Justice I.E. Ekwo, of the Abuja Division, of the Federal High Court. My Lord, by an Originating Summons dated the 30th day of November 2020, and filed on the 1st day of December 2020, the Plaintiffs commenced an action against the Defendants before the Federal High Court, via Originating Summons. By a Motion Ex Parte dated the 1st day of December 2020, and filed on the 15th day of December 2020, the Plaintiffs applied for the leave of the trial court to serve the originating processes and all other subsequent processes in the matter on the 1st – 3rd defendants by substituted means. The said motion ex parte was heard and granted by the trial court, on the 16th day of December 2020.
A copy of the order of court is attached herewith as Annexure A. My Lord, pursuant to the order of the Court, the Originating Sumrnons, the Motion on Notice, and a hearing notice were served on the 1st- 3rd defendants by substituted means, in accordance with the order of the court. The matter came up on the 21st of January 2021, for the hearing of court. The matter came up on the 21st of January 2021, for the hearing of the Motion on Notice filed by the Plaintiffs for interlocutory reliefs.
The 1st -3rd Defendants failed to appear in court and the 4th Defendant, who was present in court, did not oppose the motion on notice, hence the court granted the reliefs, as sought in the motion on notice. A copy of the order of the trial court in this regard is attached herewith as ANNEXURE B. The 1st – 3rd Defendants subsequently filed a motion on notice asking the court to set aside the service on them, the order for substituted service and the interlocutory orders of the trial court.
A copy of the said motion is attached herewith as Annexure C.
Upon service of the said motion on the Plaintiffs, through their lawyers, the Plaintiffs filed a counter affidavit challenging the averments in the said motion, and urged the court to dismiss the said application. A copy of the Plaintiffs’ counter affidavit in that regard is attached herewith as Annexure D.
While the said motion on notice was still pending before the court, the Counsel to the 1st – 3rd Defendants, quickly petitioned the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, wherein, he alleged that the Bailiff of the Federal High Court, did not serve the court processes, despite the pendency of his motion on notice, also challenging the service of the court processes on the 1st – 3rd Defendants. Upon receiving the said petition, and without diligently confirming from the trial court, the status of the matter, as the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, Mr. Emmanual Bakko in his zeal to please Roy Nwaeze Esq, the counsel to the 1st – 3rd Defendants, who is also the brother to the current governor of Ebonyi State, quickly set up a Panel for the trial of the said Bailiff while the motion challenging the same service, was yet to be heard and determined by the court.
My Lord, the said Panel sat on the 18th of February 2021. While the said panel was still sitting, Roy Nwaeze Esq, Counsel to the 1st-3rd Defendants, quickly sent out messages to the lawyers on record for the Plaintiffs, seeking for a meeting to save the Bailiff of the Court.
My Lord, the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, who himself is a lawyer, could not wait for the determination of the motion on notice, pending before this court, filed by the same Roy Nwaeze Esq, challenging the same service of the processes of the court on the 1st -3rd Defendants before rushing due to pressure by Roy Nwaeze Esq., to set up a oanel to try the bailiff of the Federal High Court.
I strongly believe my Lord, that 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 and is pending for adjudication. My Noble Lord, I wondered why the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court was in such a haste to set up a panel, to try the Bailiff over an issue that has already been submitted before the court for adjudication?
My Lord, the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, should or ought to be an epitome of high moral standard and ought not under any circumstance, be found to be wanting and/or negligent, in the discharge of his sacred duties as officer of the Temple of Justice. I strongly believe that the allegiance of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, should be, primarily to the court, in assisting in the fair, and unbiased dispensation of justice to parties that appear before the court.
My Lorrd, I also wonder why the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court failed and neglected to investigate the status of the matter before the trial court, and wait for the court to determine the same issue which has been submitted to the court, before seeking to determine the same issue administratively.
My Lord, of note is the fact, that Roy Nwane Esq, the Counsel to the 1st- 3rd Defendants, already knew the proceedings of the Panel set up by the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court while the Panel was still sitting, and the likely verdict, even before the said verdict or proceedings were made known to any other person, by the Panel.
My Lord, I believe, giving the facts stated in the preceding paragraphs above, that the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, betrayed the trust imposed on him, given his exalted position in the Temple of Justice. I firmly believe My Lord, that the conducts of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, amount to the unmitigated desecration of the hallowed Temple of Justice.
It is in view of the foregoing My Lord, that I humbly apply and seek the following prayers before my Noble Lord:
1. That my Lord most respectfully direct that that panel set up by the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court to try the Bailiff of the Court be disbanded forthwith. My Lord, a determination of the issues placed before the Registrar, in the petition upon which the panel was set up, before the determination by the Court, of the same issues pending
before it will undermine the integrity and the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court and would also amount to the breach of the rights of the Plaintiffs, on record, to fair hearing/trial in the matter, already pending before the court.
2. That my Lord directs the immediate investigation of the conducts of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court with respect to the trial of the Bailiff of this Honourable Court, the release of information pertaining to the constitution and composition of the Panel and the likely decision of the Panel, to Roy Nwaeze Esq, the Counsel to the 1st- 3rd Defendants in the substantive matter pending before the Federal High Court, and the act of setting up a Panel to investigate a matter already pending before a Judge of the Federal High Court, for which the court is yet to reach a decision.
We pray most humbly that our petition will receive the speedy attention of my Noble Lord.
The Chairman, Federal Judicial Service Commission, Supreme Court Complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja.