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Rivers APC level corruption allegations against Judges, petitions NJC

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By Amaechi Okonkwo,  Port Harcourt.

 Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC yesterday, released names of some judges in the Rivers Judiciary whom it alleged are being used to issue ‘black market’ injunctions against the Party by desperate politicians in the state.

In a Press Release by, Acting Publicity Secretary of the Rivers APC, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, they are; Justice Opufa Ben-Whyte, Justice Okogbule Gbasam, Justice Chiwendu Wogu and Justice Fiberesima.

The APC said in the statement issued in Port Harcourt that the actions of these judges have largely contributed to the wrong impression across the country that the Rivers Judiciary has become a notorious trading post where judicial decisions are bought and sold.

It disclosed that it has petitioned the aforementioned judges who they alleged are debasing the integrity of the Rivers Judiciary to the National Judicial Council, NJC. 

The statement further claimed; “We had earlier promised that we would release the names of judges who are toying with the law, and incessantly betraying the oath of office that they swore to uphold”, the Party stated.

“These judges appointed by the present administration, who in many instances have allowed themselves to descend into the arena of justice, are: Justice Opufa Ben-Whyte, Justice Okogbule Gbasam, Justice Chiwendu Wogu, Justice Fiberesima and one other.

“Accordingly, the APC has petitioned these judges who are young on the Bench, but who appear to be acting a script, to the NJC. We urge the NJC to invite these judges for questioning without any further delay”.

“We are not the only state in the federation which has inscribed clauses on injunctions in its statute books. To the best of our knowledge judges have been repeatedly advised by higher authorities to exercise discretion in issuing such interim orders.

The Rivers APC expressed dismay over the summons of some Chief Judges of some states including that of Rivers State over the activities of such judges saying that the judges themselves were supposed to be summoned to face the NJC. 

The Party said; “Against this backdrop, we urge the NJC which is appalled by the conduct of some judges across the land to invite these justices in Rivers State to answer for their infamous deeds. 

“In the same manner, we also urge the Rivers Chief Judge who may not have a hand, given the independence that judges enjoy, to put his foot down and ensure that erring judges who have the penchant for issuing bread and butter decisions are not allowed to do so at the risk of the reputable image of the entire judiciary. 

“Similarly, we have noticed that apart from granting injunctions, these judges now resort to a new tactic of ordering the maintenance of what they consider the status quo. 

“Our position is that such orders emanating from the judges under reference, which order parties that appear before them to maintain status quo, is an indirect way of issuing a restraining injunction without actually saying so. 

“While we further commend the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Nigerian Bar Association for what they are doing, we believe that their effort to cleanse the Augean stable should be extended to Rivers State.”

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