Abia Governor Wins Appeal on Stay of Execution

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Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

The Court of Appeal has held that Justice Okon Abang was wrong to have assumed jurisdiction ‎in a motion for stay of execution of his earlier judgments delivered on June 27 even after the appeals against the judgments had been entered.

Justice Philomina Ekpe, who read the lead judgment, held that what Justice Abang ought to have done in line with time-honoured doctrine of “stari decisis” was to have transferred the motion to the Court of Appeal for determination.

The appellate court ruled in favour of the appellant, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, on his appeal challenging Abang’s decision‎ to hear the application for a stay of execution of his judgment when he was duly informed that the appeals had been entered.

Justice Ekpe in her lead judgment held: “The lower court (Justice Abang) has made a complete somersault of the entire suit. Once an appeal is entered into, there is nothing left for the trial court to adjudicate upon. All the trial court was supposed to do was to transmit the record of proceedings to the appellate court.

“But it deliberately chose to do otherwise. This is against Order 4 Rules 10 and 11 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011. The lower court acted ultra vires.”

Justice Abang ‎had insisted that he had jurisdiction to hear a motion for stay of execution of his earlier judgments delivered on June 27 even after the appeals against the judgments had been entered at the Appeal Court.

‎In her contributing judgment, Justice Morenikeji Ogunwumiju who presided at the hearing of the appeal also held that Justice Abang “deliberately stood the law on its head”‎ when he erroneously assumed jurisdiction to hear the motion and adjourned it till a later date.

She further held that Justice Abang lacked jurisdictions to interpret the provisions of the Court of Appeal being the rules of a superior court.

Judgment is still ongoing in the main appeal challenging Justice Abang’s Judgment which removed the governor from office.

Details later.