The All Progressives Congress has released the names of judges in the Rivers Judiciary apparently being used to issue ‘black market’ injunctions against it by desperate politicians in the State.
They are Justice Opufa Ben-Whyte, Justice Okogbule Gbasam, Justice Chiwendu Wogu and Justice Fiberesima.
The APC in a statement signed and issued by its spokesman, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, in Port Harcourt said 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.
The APC disclosed that it has petitioned the aforementioned judges who are debasing the integrity of the Rivers Judiciary to the National Judicial Council, NJC.
The statement read in full: “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.
“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.
“We are dismayed that the heads of courts in some states, including that of Rivers State, have been summoned as a result of the activities of such judges.
“These judges are truly the ones who should have been invited to face the NJC.
“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.”