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Group petitions National Judicial Commission over Dickson disqualification suit .Protest at Federal High Court, Yenagoa

 By Our Correspondent

A group under the aegis of Concerned Citizens of Bayelsa West Senatorial District has petitioned the National Judicial Commission (NJC), to intervene expediently over the transfer of an alleged case of certificate forgery against former Governor Henry Seriake Dickson from the Federal High Court, Abuja to Federal High Court, Yenagoa.


Former Governor Henry Seriake Dickson

A suit No. FHC/YNG/CS/72/2020, with the PDP and Dickson as defendants, sought Dickson’s disqualification from contesting the forthcoming Bayelsa West Senatorial District bye-election.

The group in a press statement on Tuesday by its leaders, Mr Ogboka Selekeowei and Samson Emi Paa-ebi, after a peaceful protest at the gate of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, said the sudden transfer of the case to Yenagoa was allegedly to compromise and truncates the legal process and called on the apex judiciary regulatory body to intervene.

They alleged that the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Aniso and Aluzu, waited for over 16 days for the matter to be assigned to a substantive judge for trial, but to no avail.

They further accused Dickson and PDP of going through the back door without the consent of both parties to transfer the matter from Federal High Court Abuja to Federal High Court, Yenagoa.

The group averred that in the twist of the matter, lawyers for the plaintiffs on October 21, 2020, wrote to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, and based on the petition, on October 23, the Registrar of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, was directed to inform the plaintiffs and his lawyers on the matter which was to hold on October 28, 2020, for mention in the Federal High Court, but also to no avail.

However, the group also noted that the matter came up on November 9, 2020 for hearing, at the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, the lawyers asked the Presiding Judge to recue herself on the matter.

The matter has, however, been adjourned until Wednesday November 11, 2020, for further hearing.

Meanwhile, the group also picketed the gate of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, during the peaceful protest, claiming that the judge of the Federal High Court I, Yenagoa, had allegedly betrayed her oath of office.

The protesters carried placards bearing different inscriptions such as ‘Say no to bribe, we need fair judgment in Bayelsa West’, ‘The judiciary is the hope of the common man’, ‘Withdraw the matter from Justice Inyang’, ‘We need credible/qualified representative for Bayelsa West Senatorial District’, among others.

Meanwhile, there was a mild drama in the Federal High Court, sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Tuesday in the suit seeking to disqualify former Governor Seriake Dickson from contesting the Bayelsa West senatorial bye-election.

The suit which was filed by Eneoriekumoh Owoupele at the Abuja division was transferred to Yenagoa.

Eneoriekumoh, who hails from Dickson’s Sagbama Local Government Area, is alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Form EC9, which Dickson, candidate of the PDP for the election, submitted to the commission, contained false information.

When the matter came up for mention, lawyers for the plaintiff, Messrs. A.O Aniso and E.A. Aluzu informed the court that they were yet to effect service on the People’s Democratic Party and had filed a motion for substituted service on former Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, the second and third defendants in the suit.

On why the service was yet to be effected in Abuja, the lawyers informed the court that they were reliably informed by the bailiff of court, Adewale Adepitan, that the court had refused to release the file to the bailiff.

The court summoned the bailiff and asked him to ascertain why he was unable to serve PDP in Abuja and the bailiff said the Registrar of the court informed him that the court had not released the file.

The lawyers said they would return on Wednesday to move ex parte application against Dickson.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Jane Inyang, asked the bailiff to go and serve the PDP in Abuja as it is the address for service.

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