Ebubeagu Legal Tussle: Ebonyi Govt Debunks Bribery Allegation

By Celestine Okeh, Abakaliki

Ebonyi State Government has denied  alleged attempt to bribe  Hon. Justice Mabel Taiye Segun-Bello of the Federal High Court, Abakaliki, to obtain stay of execution over the judgement on Ebubeagu security outfit leveled against the state Governor, Engr David Umahi on Facebook report.

In a press statement by Chief Barr. Cletus N. OfokeHon. Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, challenged any one with evidence of bribry allegation to make it public.

His statement reads in full;
"Gentlemen of the Press, it has become imperative to address you on some issues of State concern especially on the recent judgment of the Federal High Court in respect of Ebubeagu Security Agency delivered on 14/02/2023.Recall that Mr. Abia Onyike instituted an action by way of Originating Summons on the 12th day of January, 2023 against the Government of Ebonyi State, the Attorney General and Ebubeagu Security Agency over the constitutional power of the Ebonyi State House of House Assembly to enact the Ebubeagu Security Agency Law No. 005 of 2021.Let me inform the Press and General Public that the Respondents in that case; that is the Government of Ebonyi State, Attorney General and Ebubeagu Security Agency have successfully appealed the judgment as the Record of Appeal has been transmitted to the Court of Appeal, Enugu (Display copy of record of Appeal) and the Appeal No is CA/E/58/2023. 

"Hence the matter is subjudice, I do not intend to dwell much on it but suffice it to say that we are hopeful of being victorious at the Court of Appeal as we believe that the Justice of the case will be better served at the Court of Appeal.

"Secondly, our attention has also been drawn to the facebook publications of some mischievous characters alleging that the Governor of Ebonyi State attempted bribing Hon. Justice Mabel Taiye Segun-Bello of the Federal High Court, Abakaliki to grant stay of execution of the judgment on Ebubeagu Security Agency. Let me state categorically clear that not until the unfounded publication of the factional Ohanaeze Youth Council, Governor Umahi never knew about the existence of Federal High Court Abakaliki, Court 2 let alone meeting or having any discussion with the Judge. The Governor never did any of such as he cannot descend so low to the extent of asking a Judge to grant stay of execution. It is the right of parties to challenge any decision of a lower court when same is not justifiable like the present case and to also ask the Court of first instance to stay the execution of its judgment. Moreso when the party(ies) dissatisfied with the judgment are/is going on Appeal. And when the application is refused, the appellate court may still hear and grant it to avoid rendering the Appeal nugatory if it succeeds. And so, it does not worth dissipating such energy at this stage. Contrary to the fallacious statement of the so called Ohanaeze Youth Council, Governor David Nweze Umahi as a firm believer in the principle of Rule of Law; shortly after the judgment of Justice Riman, announced that although, there is another earlier judgment of a court of coordinate jurisdiction which declared that Ebubeagu Security Agency was a lawful outfit; the Ebonyi State Government was obeying the latter judgment until the case was finally determined; and that the outfit should cease to operate forthwit. The question is how can a leader who made public and ensured the immediate implementation of his directive and Government position, go through the back door to seek for the stay of execution of such judgment?    For record purpose, the primary aim of Government everywhere is the protection of lives and properties of its citizens. 

"This, the present Government in Ebonyi State, under Engr. David Nweze Umahi, CON has been doing since 2015, giving rise to the relative peace and security Ebonyi State is enjoying today as the most secured State in the South East. While not holding brief for Hon. Justice Bello and assuming but certainly not conceding to the fact that the Judge lodges at Osborne La-Palm Royal Resort, I do not know of any law or rule or code of conduct that prevents a Judge from lodging in a hotel of his/her choice or owned by a Governor’s relation or in which a Governor has “interest”However, I do presume that the “Ohanaeze Youth Council” leadership understands the consequences of character assassination, malicious publication and defamation especially the one targeted at a Jurist.As the Chief Law Officer and leader of the Bar in Ebonyi State, I cannot fold my hands and watch riffraff drag the hard earned reputations of a world class leader of Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi, CON, FNTE, FNATE and that of a Judge into a mud. The so called Youth Organization should be courteous, civil and factual in her outburst.On the alleged purchase of a private Jet in 2018 by Governor Umahi using State Government’s funds; I make bold to reiterate the popular legal aphorism that He who alleges must prove. 

"I therefore challenge and it is incumbent on Nwoba Chika Nwoba or any other person alleging to make available the particulars and details of the private Jet to the public for easy appreciation by Ebonyi people and members of the public.This allegation is not only false but a calculated attempt to pinch the good people of Ebonyi State against the man who has giving a name to the State that was backward in almost everything good; from nothing to something; a State recognized by World Bank for its Transparency, Accountability and Prudence courtesy of Engr. David Nweze Umahi. People who dish out these unscrupulous, vicious, cruel and malevolent posts should better watch their backs as Law is no respecter of any person.        

"The Government will continue to put measures in place to ensure that her citizens and their properties are secured and no amount of blackmail and propaganda shall stop this. In this direction therefore, Ebonyi State Government has risen to the occasion by the inauguration of the Ebonyi State Vigilante Corps fashioned after the Amotekun in the South West and the Ebonyi State Neighborhood Watch coined after the Vigilante Service in Anambra State through the instrumentality of the laws passed by the Ebonyi State House of Assembly.  Ebonyi State is our own and there is no other State we can call our own".

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