The High Court in Abakaliki today, 10th March, 2022 grants “Judgment in Rem” to the Governor David Nweze Umahi following an earlier Federal High Court Abuja judgment on the 8th of March, 2022.

According to the Honourable Attorney General of the state, Barr. Cletus Ofoke:

“You are already aware of the judgment of the High Court of Ebonyi State delivered on the 28 day of February, 2022. In that judgment, the court directed that the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. (Chief) David Nweze Umahi, and the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Barr. Kelechi Igwe should not vacate office as Governor and Deputy Governor respectively in Ebonyi State by virtue of their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress. And so, you are also aware of the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja on the 8th of February, 2022 in the same subject matter. And so, when we have two judgments of courts of competent jurisdiction, the next thing that parties would wait for, is to rather wait for the decision of the appellate court.

Speaking further, Barr. Ofoke said:

“And so today, the same High Court in Abakaliki, has mandated, has made an order, a valid one for that matter, asking the parties to enforce its earlier judgment of 28 of February, 2022. In other words, His Excellency, the Governor of Ebonyi State and his Deputy approached the court in lieu of the decision of the Federal High Court on the 8th to say, look at the position. We have this judgment from you, we have also this judgment from your sister court, a court of competent jurisdiction, what do we do?

“The Governor and his Deputy approached the court through his Lead Counsel and court made an order. This is in the respect that the judgment of the 28 of February 2022, is the judgment the Judgment in Rem. And in law, when the judgment is in rem, it means that it is the judgment that has been adjudicated all the issues raised by the parties and that one is subsisting and valid and that the parties should give respect to that.

Explaining the meaning of Judgment in Rem, the Honourable Attorney General said:

“In other words, a Judgment in Rem, is a judgment that binds the whole world, even if you are not a party. The court relied on the Supreme Court decision in Igboama and ors vs Obidigwe and ors reported in 2019. In that Supreme Court case, I have just cited, the court tried to look at, what is the Judgment in Rem. The Judgment in Realm comes into play when you are having two judgments on the same subject matter just like that of 28 and that of the 8th of March. And so the court is saying that the judgment of 28 ought to be respected, enforced and should be allowed to stay by all the parties, including non-parties and that is why the Supreme Court is saying, it is the judgment that binds even the whole world.

“So even if you are party to that suit or you are not a party, you should be bound by that judgment because it has decided on the issue really brought to it by the parties.

On the case instituted against the Ebonyi State Cybercrimes Prohibition Law 2021, Barr. Ofoke noted:

” Yesterday, a High Court in Abakaliki gave judgment validating the Ebonyi State Cybercrimes Prohibition Law 2021. Some disgruntled elements instituted what they described as frivolous actions against Ebonyi State Government, the Attorney General and the the Governor of Ebonyi State asking the court to set aside the Ebonyi State Cybercrimes Prohibition Law 2021. That the Law runs contrary to the intent and provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended. And the court in its judgment stated that the Law remains in force, that Law has not violated any provisions of the constitution and that the House of Assembly of Ebonyi State has not committed any wrong by enacting the Ebonyi State Cybercrimes Prohibition Law 2021″

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