The request, the party observed, is necessitated by the fear that the presiding judge may not be trusted to handle the matter transparently.
The APC in a letter signed by its Caretaker Committee Chairman, Barrister Isaac Abot Ogbobula and Secretary, Baridor Badom accused the judge of bias.
In it, the APC noted, “We are sued as 1st Defendant in the above suit now pending before Hon. Justice L. Ngbor Abina, Judge, and we write to your Honourable Lordship to report the flagrant display of abuse of judicial discretion and manifest show of bias against our party, The All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Hon. Justice L. Ngbor Abina (presiding).
“We say so because when the matter first came up upon becoming aware of the pendency of the suit and the fact that the presiding judge had granted application exparte in favour of the claimant and against us, the Defendants, our counsel filed a motion on notice challenging service of originating processes purportedly served on the Defendants.”
The APC revealed that it “brought same to the attention of the Honourable Court and sought a determination of the said motion.
But the party claimed that “the court surprisingly elected to entertain the said application together with the substantive suit contrary to settled position of the law which is well known to the effect that; “where there is an application challenging service, it is incumbent on the judge to first entertain such an application either way before delving into any other pending application.”
Recall that when the matter first came up on the 18th of December, 2020, the Court could not sit as a result of the valedictory court session held in honour of late Hon. Justice Rowland Ahiakwo.
The APC however alleged that the judge had altered the date of hearing in a suit fixed for the 18th of January, 2021 to 11th January, 2021 at the behest of H. A Bello Esq without reference to defendant’s lawyers.
Said the APC, “Hon. Justice Ngbor Abina J. is the daughter of Chief Precious Ngbor. A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party and a known loyalist of Governor Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State who are desirous of ensuring that the All Progressives Congress does not find its footing.”
The party further alleged that members of the PDP were already claiming in town that the trial judge has been purportedly procured to hurt the APC in a matter that they have interest.
The party similarly cited what it referred to as the “refusal to hear the Motion Challenging Service and on the contrary, electing to hear the substantive matter together with the said motion” as an affront to known judicial processes and “a position running in conflict with laid down principles of law.”
Recuse yourself, APC urges Abina J.
Meanwhile, the APC has written to Justice L Ngbor Abina who is expected to preside in a matter brought against it by Sunday Hawkins and 4 Ors, asking her in the interest of justice to recuse herself.
In the letter dated 7th January, 2021 and addressed to her the APC said it had lost confidence in the ability of the judge to hear the case.
“Kindly note that we have drawn the attention of My Lord, The Honourable, The Chief Judge of Rivers State in a petition to My Lord of your flagrant show of bias and our loss of confidence in your handling this matter. The said petition is attached hereto for your ease of reference.
“In the light of the foregoing, we therefore, most humbly plead with your Lordship, to excuse yourself and remit the case file to the Honourable Chief Judge of Rivers State for immediate reassignment to another judge for hearing and determination of same…”, the letter added.
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