Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has apologized over his disparaging remarks on Justice Inyang Ekwo, says Olumide Akpata, the national president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Justice Ekwo had on Tuesday sacked the governor, his deputy and 15 state lawmakers who defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Reacting to his ousting, Mr Umahi described the judge as a hatchet man doing the bidding of the PDP. He also said he has submitted a petition against the judge at the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Describing his outburst as executive rascality, Mr Akpata beckoned on the governor to apologize for attacking the judiciary.
In a statement on his verified Facebook page, the NBA chief said the governor has apologized for his uncouth attack and appealed to the judge to accept the apology.
“On 9th March 2022, I issued a Statement unequivocally condemning the reaction of H.E. Engr. Dave Umahi, the Governor of Ebonyi State to the Judgment of the FHC Abuja which ordered him and his Deputy to vacate office. I also demanded an apology and a retraction of the comments.
“Following that Statement, H.E. Engr. Umahi made extensive efforts to reach me and in the course of our conversation, I reiterated that the NBA has no interest in the case other than to ensure that the sanctity of the judicial system is protected & the rule of law respected.
“In line with our demands, H.E. Engr. Umahi addressed a cross section of Ebonyi State citizens, where he unreservedly apologised for his comments, clarified his intentions and very importantly too, called for calm from his supporters while urging them to refrain from denigrating the Judiciary.
“I will immediately transmit this apology to His Lordship, Hon. Justice Inyang Ekwo and My Lord the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, who is the head of the Judiciary in Nigeria, and urge them to also accept same.
“I must restate for the sake of emphasis that there is a well established procedure for challenging unfavourable decisions of courts of competent jurisdiction and the NBA under my administration will continue to fulfil its mandate by rising to the defence of the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, and the sanctity of court orders.
“Now that the right thing has been done and the appeal process has been activated, we shall resume our backseat and allow the process take its course. As far as the NBA is concerned, this brings an end to this unfortunate episode but we hope that important lessons have been learnt,” reads the statement.