Eastern Lawyers Laud Justice Ekwo Over Ruling on Mbah

Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu

* Advise Attorneys Against Steps Capable of Denting the Legal Profession

A non-governmental organisation (NGO) comprising only attorneys from Enugu State, Oriental Lawyers for Justice, has lauded Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court for refusing to grant a request by one of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANS) working for Peter Mbah, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in the 2023 general election. That is, to stop the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) from testifying in any forum on the integrity of the NYSC discharge certificate paraded by Mbah.

The Enugu State Governorship and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal is resuming sittings on Thursday, July 7, and the NYSC is scheduled to testify on NYSC discharge certificate A808297 which Mbah, whom the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) controversially declared the winner of the March 18 gubernatorial election, claims to have been issued by the NYSC on January 6, 2003.

“The whole nation is delighted that not only did Justice Ekwo bluntly refuse to grant the request for an interlocutory injunction by Mbah’s attorney, Emeka Ozoani (SAN), but did not allow him to finish the request before he (the learned judge) cut in and stopped Ozoani in his inelegant tracks, thus showing a high level of displeasure with the conduct of the learned Silk”, the Oriental Lawyers for Justice stated in a statement in Enugu this afternoon signed by its chairman, John Bosco Aninwede, and the publicity secretary, Mrs. Ifeoma Ejike.

The CSO said that with this ruling, Justice Ekwo has begun the process of repositioning himself in the public imagination after the controversial order on May 15 acceding to the request by the same lawyer for an interlocutory injunction prohibiting the NYSC from commenting on the genuiness or otherwise of the NYSC certificate even before the courts.

Top NYSC officials, including the Director General, the Director of Certification, and the Assistant Director of Certification had on various occasions between February and June declared Mbah’s discharge certificate presented to INEC as fake.

The lawyers faulted Justice Ekwo for even granting on May 15 the original request for the same order which led to a strong petition against him before the National Judicial Council (NJC).

“It is good that the honorable judge, who has another petition against him before the NJC written by Seplat Energy plc, has begun to take steps to show that he is different from controversial judges who frequently leave the Bench in unpleasant circumstances”, remarked the Eastern lawyers.

The CSO advised lawyers, especially seniors, against making controversial requests or even handling certain cases, however attractive the pay may be.

Lawyers, they noted, are “first and foremost ministers in the Temple of Justice, and an acute consciousness of this fact should guide their conduct always, in and out of court.

“It is infra dig for a lawyer, let alone a learned Silk, to ask the judiciary to gag the very institution which gives out certificates from testifying on the authenticity of a certificate it purportedly issued.

“Acts like this tend to diminish the status of the legal profession in the opinion of reasonable members of society”.