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Rights group drags Federal High Court judge to NJC over alleged bias

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By Yolamchi Ukaga, Aba

The National Judicial Council (NJC) said it has received a petition brought to it by Civil Society Coalition for Judicial Reforms against Hon. Justice Emeka Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Umuahia Judicial Division, Abia state.

The group had dragged Justice Osiagor before the NJC over allegation of bias in the case with suit No. FHC/UM/PET/02/2018 filed on July 23, 2018, which is about winding-up proceeding of Davebenlin Nigeria Limited, a private limited liability company.

The group also called on the NJC to order Justice Osiagor to desist from entertaining the said matter with the above suit number, which the Appeal Court sitting in Owerri has already fixed for hearing.

The group, in a statement signed by Mazi Eze Ohuru, the group’s coordinator and Ameh Ejeh, secretary, explained that the group sent a five sub-heading/content petition to the NJC, dated October 5, 2020, against Justice Osiagor.

The Civil Society Coalition for Judicial Reforms in the first content of their petition accused the judge of violating his own order and disregarding process and entry of record before the Court of Appeal.

They also questioned the impartiality of Justice Osiagor, claiming that he had presided over meetings he summoned in his private chamber on the matter.

The group alleged in their petition that Justice Osiagor is showing favouritism to one of the parties in the case before him, which is suit No FHC/UM/PET/02/2018 prior to it moving to court of appeal.

They alleged that the Judge is receiving only one of the parties in case before him in his chamber and also pointed out that the Judge is apparently making his intentions known to one of the parties in a case before him.

Each of the five subheadings/contents of the petition was given details showing examples of the allegations as written by the group to the NJC.

Replying their petition in a letter with the title: “Re: Petition to NJC for Hon. Justice D. E Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Umuahia Division, to desist from entertaining further, a matter already at the Appeal Court, Owerri”, dated October 30, 2020, assured that action is being taken.

The NJC, in the letter signed by Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and chairman of NJC wrote, “This is to acknowledge the receipt of your petition dated October 5, 2020, on the above subject matter and to inform you that action is being taken please”.

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