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Enugu South Constituents Protest Moves To Jail Their House Of Assembly Lawmaker 

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – There was an uproar at the Enugu South Magistrate Court Thursday as Members of the Enugu South urban constituency staged a peaceful  protest at the Court premises over what they described as an alleged move by the presiding Magistrate,  E.D Onwu to commit the lawmaker representing the area in the state House of Assembly Hon. Bright Ngene  of the Labour party  (LP)  and a townsman to prison over a communal matter, accusing the Magistrate of bias.

Our Correspondent who was at the Court writes that three lawyers had during the court session which held amid heavy police presence, fought fruitlessly to dissuade Onwu to give a long adjournment date in the matter.

Hon. Ngene, who was elected into the Enugu state House of Assembly in the March 18, 2023 election, had on Monday cried out for interventions against what he described as alleged plot and conspiracy by the Executive and Judicial arms of the state government to commit him to prison for insisting on the mandate he was given by his constituency.

In a Save My Soul SOS alarm he raised in Enugu,  the Lawmaker, hinted that both the Chief Judge of Enugu state, Justice A. R . Ozoemena; the deputy Chief Chief Registrar of the state High Court, Chijioke Agbo and Magistrate, E. D Onwu have colluded to terminate his political and legal careers by employing impunity to disobey the National Judicial Council, NJC, interventions to stay action a charge against him (Ngene) and two others until the matter is determined by the NJC.

He was sworn into the House of Assembly but the election was aborted by the court in a petition by his rival, Hon Sam Ngene of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Re-run elections for the disputed eight polling units in the Constituency have been held twice but inconclusive, while the scheduled third time re-run of June 8 was cancelled without notice to the LP candidate.

In his petition to the NJC, Ngene alleged that, “there is corruptive agreement between the Honourable Chief Judge of Enugu State, His Lordship A. R Ozoemena, the Deputy Chief Registrar N.L Chijioke Agbo, His Worship E. D Onwu, Esq and the Enugu State government to at all cost or willy nilly put me behind bars before a re-run is conducted over my seat in the Enugu State House of Assembly.

“Otherwise, why are these parties applying impunity in continuing with the trial when the NJC has accepted custody of the matter. The ideal thing is that parties in this matter should relax for NJC to make a determination but they are rushing the matter to put me behind the bars and go ahead to conduct the re-run election.

“I seek the NJC to save me from oppression, persecution and impeding wrongful conviction bathed by corruption and obvious abuse of judicial office and power .

“Unless the National Judicial Council intervenes, the Honourable Chief Judge of Enugu State, the Deputy Chief Registrar and His Worship E. D Onwu will wrongfully and corruptly destroy my ambition to to continue to be in the House of Assembly of Enugu State and dent my political and legal career with conviction,” Ngene cried out.

While the 1st and 2nd defence lawyers, Messrs CJ S Okereke, Benjamin C. Nwobodo and Frabel Awgu, who appeared as a friend of the court and for the two Communities involved in the communal feud, asked the trial Magistrate to adjourn the matter till next week to enable them study and reply to application filed by the prosecuting counsel, F. Onaga, His Worship, Onwu insisted that court must sit tomorrow, Friday, an other the defence counsels wer not happy with.

The said matter had been lingering since 2017 before Ngene ran for the assembly election.

When every efforts by the defence counsels failed to sway the trial Magistrate, they stormed out of the court, visibly angry, expressing disappointment with the manner the Chief Magistrate is handling the matter.

Addressing newsmen on the outcome of the proceeding, Barr. C. J. S  Okereke said that the community had applied to discontinue the matter and wanted the case transferred to another magistrate court in Enugu South Magisterial Court other than that of His Worship, Onwu who they accused of being biased and compromised.

“This court is biased.  We have filed an application that the matter should be transferred to another court.  Let another court see this matter because of compromise”

Accusing His Worship, Onwu of being involved in the case, Okereke added that  they petitioned the National Judicial Council, that they were not happy with Onwu handling the matter..

“When his disposition, Onwu, became unbearable, we saw counter and conflicting orders, and we wrote the Chief Judge of Enugu State for direction as to which court we are going to hear this matter, there was no reply.  

“We wrote again and there was no reply and we were constrained to go to the highest disciplinary body of the bench, the NJC on June 7 and we got acknowledgement that the matter is being looked into.

“I don’t know why this court still want to hear the matter,” he lamented alleging  that there was a gang plan to commit his client to prison so that he would not participate in the rerun election to maintain his position at the Enugu State House of Assembly where he had been representing Enugu South Urban Constituency before the Court of Appeals annulled the election and called for a rerun in 8 polling booths.

Unhappy with the development, people  of the constituency staged a protest at the court premises  displaying placards condemning His Worship, E D Onwu for not allowing a longer time for adjournment.

Some of the placards read: “His Worship E D Onwu is grossly lawless and rascal in presiding over the case; E D Ownu how much were you paid?

“His Lordship Onwu, has political interest in this matter. He should apply the law judiciously without fear nor favour. His Lordship is grossly corrupt and bias”

“His Lordship has compromised the integrity of the law in his quest to satisfy the PDP,  amongst others.”



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