OPINION  – Umo Eno, court cases and the desperation of tattlers

There are several fall outs from the “case.” Firstly, there are questions about the transparency of the case. People are asking why the details of the case are shrouded in mystery

By N.T.A Efo

It is no longer news that an Abuja Magistrate Court presided over by Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Iyanna has reversed itself by vacating and nullifying a fraudulent, illegal and illegitimate Warrant of Arrest issued by it, erroneously, to effect the arrest of Pastor Umo Bassey Eno, the governorship candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in Akwa Ibom State. The news, rather, is that, despite the dismissal, termination, striking out and dropping of the “fraud on the court” case, desperate tattlers and their sponsors are all over, emitting senseless writings, comments and posts on the social and other media spaces.

Pastor Umo Eno, being a focused, fixed, steadfast, resolute and faithful patriot, unwaveringly committed and dedicated to the campaign to get more Akwa Ibom people  on his electoral pedestal, has been going round the state with his message of peace and prosperity, while the desperados, obviously without a message for the people, are making a mountain out of the mole of a “case.”

It is not their first time though. Infact, at the last count, they had gone through this ritual over 10 worthless cases which have all been thrown out by the courts. Only one, the Appeal on the case of Forgery of Certificate is on-going, and will, like others meet its water loo.

At the breakout of the obviously syndicated ‘fake’ news on the Warrant of Arrest, Pastor Eno was preparing to go to Ika local government area, in the state’s North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District, on a campaign rally. It was at Ika that he, after his attention was drawn to the publication on TheCable Newspaper, and its wide circulation on the social media, dismissed the report as fake and all lies. Who wouldn’t? After all, before that time, he never, for once, knew he had a case in any Magistrate Court in the whole of Nigeria. And he was right.

That particular suit, marked number CR/94/2022, instituted by one Edet, Godwin Etim, which borders on charges of “cheating and dishonesty inducing delivery of property,” whatever that means, was never, in private or public, known to Pastor Eno.

In fact, I am certain the case was filed same day the irregular and illegal Warrant of Arrest was issued. I am also certain it was done at night, for the warrant was erroneously addressed to Pastor Umo Eno instead of, to the Inspector General of Police. In essence, the illegal warrant meant that Pastor Umo Eno should arrest himself. That is how untidy the dirty job was.

Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for the truth, they met a brick wall while trying to serve the warrant as the Legal department of the Nigeria Police Force clearly told them the warrant was irregular, illegal and wasn’t addressed to the Inspector General of Police, and thus couldn’t be executed. To show you how desperate they were to get Pastor Umo Eno arrested for an offence unbeknownst to him, the office of the law firm they used for the case was locked and marked “On Vacation,” same day they went to the police headquarters. The “On Vacation” notice on the doors of Law Icons situated at 37 Yaounde Street, Wuse Zone 6, Abuja, was to ensure that Pastor Umo Eno’s lawyers who, knowing the precarious nature of politics in Nigeria and the oft  tendency of politicians to mislead the judiciary in their quest to level scores, had gone to the Abuja court to find out if the story on the social media was a reality, would not be able to serve them any notice to be joined in an event that they find out the sinister scheme and try to vacate the order. Such desperation to make capital out of an illegality by lawyers who should ordinarily be the bastions  of justice.

Samuel Ikpo, Esq, had filed an “Affidavit of Urgency” in the court, where he urged it to interfer with its order (the warrant) and set it aside. He also filed a “Written Address in Support of Motion” where he coroborated Pastor Umo Eno’s earlier statement in Ika that he “has never been served with any court process commanding me to attend court in this case.” He also affirmed that Pastor Eno “has never been invited by the police on any matter nor has he ever made any statement to the police in connection with this case.”

Consequently, the court, upon hearing the application made by Pastor Eno’s counsel, ordered that the warrant against him “is hereby set aside and the entire judgement set aside accordingly, as it negates the principle of fair hearing, justice and equity.” The order was signed by the same Chief Magistrate Iyanna who said he was misled by the said Godwin Edet.

This will not be the first time he or any court in the land has reversed itself or revoked an earlier judgment, citing being misled as an excuse. In October 2021, the same Iyanna had revoked a search warrant he granted security agencies to search Justice Mary Odili’s house, claiming he was misled. The Supreme Court similarly reversed itself in an earlier dismissal of an appeal by GT bank against a N24b judgment given in favour of Innoson Motors Nig. LTD by the Court of Appeal in Ibadan. It said it was misled by its Registry. It said it could reverse itself under circumstances where any of the party obtained judgment by fraud or deceit. It is not different from the Umo Eno “case,” which judgement and Warrant of Arrest were,  clearly, obtained by fraud and deceit.

There are several fall outs from the “case.” Firstly, there are questions about the transparency of the case. People are asking why the details of the case are shrouded in mystery. Nothing, except the name of Edet Godwin Etim, and the charge on the fraudulent Warrant of Arrest document is known of the vague, hazy and ill-defined case. Even the address of Edet is not on the document. There is also a question about the integrity of the judiciary. Why would a judge abdicate his responsibility as a gatekeeper to justice and allow innocent people like Pastor Umo Eno suffer from what they know nothing about? A judge must be impatial and shouldn’t have delivered a judgment from the stand point of the person who brought the fraudulent case. This was totally a case of “Rhambo- lawyering” by Edet’s lawyers, G.M.Odey, Esq and Ahmed Abdul Rahman, Esq. Even when they knew the Magistrate Court in Abuja had no jurisdiction to handle such a “case,” they went ahead to mislead the court. It calls to question also, the responsibility of regulatory and monitoring agencies and bodies like the National Judiciary Council, the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, and the  Council of Legal Education in Nigeria. Lawyers can only cross these ethical lines when they know they can do just about anything and get away with it because of the weakness of these agencies. Thankfully, Ikpo, Esq, has petitioned Iyanna to the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, and a query swiftly dispatched to him by the learned Chief Judge.

Lastly, as much as the sponsors of this and other cases against Pastor Umo Eno want to crucify him on the altar of their lies, he keeps towering above them, drawing enormous goodwill, sympathy and support from the majority of Akwa Ibom people who know that the plan in the first place was to make him a convict, disqualify him from the race and set grounds for the PDP which, by all indices, will win the coming gubernatorial election in the state, not to have a candidate. They have failed because Pastor Eno has, rather, reaped a bountiful harvest  of unsolicited good publicity in the process. Whereas only TheCable, AIT and Sahara Reporters reported the court order on the warrant of arrest, they have been joined by Vanguard, Channels TV, headtopics.com, Gismaster, The Witness Nigeria, More News.org, the Legal Nigerian Lawyer, The Boss Newspaper, Daily Post and Nairaland Forum, to mention a few, to publish the order vacating the fraudulent warrant.

In all, it’s a Win win for Pastor Umo Eno, the humble, simple, approachable, refined, modest, kind, humane, respectable, reliable and dependable gentleman who, by God’s grace and the votes of majority of Akwa Ibom people, will emerge as Governor on March 11, 2023, and get sworn in by May 29, 2023, to further sustain the growth, progress and development of Akwa Ibom State.

▪︎Efo wrote from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

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