- The arrival of the Justice minister-designate, Lateef Fagbemi, at the Abia state governorship petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia caused a stir in the courtroom
- Lawyers opined his presence, as well as his new office, threatened the members of the tribunal
- Fagbemi is the lead counsel to Governor Alex Otti of Labour Party in the case brought by PDP challenging his victory in the March 18 governorship election
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Fagbemi is the lead counsel to Governor Alex Otti, the candidate of the Labour Party, in the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) and their candidates, Chief Okey Ahiwe and Chief Ikechi Emenike, respectively.
Though Fagbemi did not announce his appearance at the hearing on Thursday, August 17, his presence in court and sitting with Otti’s lawyers caused some ‘murmuring’ in the court', Vanguard reported.
Lawyers react as Fagbemi shows up in court
Lawyers were observed discussing the situation. A senior lawyer, who pleaded anonymity, condemned Fagbemi’s presence at the court sitting and described it as an attempt to ‘intimidate members of the tribunal’ with his new office, The Sun newspaper report added.
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Another lawyer said:
“Fagbemi chose to cling to a private matter he was handling in court thereby casting doubts already about his impartiality as Minister of Justice. This is obviously a move to intimidate members of the tribunal. He has shown that he may not show neutrality as a minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Tribunal reserves judgment in Labour Party Vs PDP suit
In another development, the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has reserved its judgment on the suit filed by the Labour Party to challenge the victory of Governor Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
On Wednesday, August 16, the court's decision came after the parties' adoption of the written addresses.
On the resumption of the hearing at the tribunal, Justice Akano, the leader of the panel, reserved the judgment, adding that it would be communicated to the parties involved.
Ghost workers: Abia gov begins verification of civil servants
The Alex Otti-led Abia state government has confirmed that it would commence a clampdown on ghost workers starting from the local government on Monday, August 7.
As contained in a statement issued by the State Head of Service, Joy Maduka, the exercise would enable Governor Otti's administration to bring all state, local government, parastatals, and state-owned tertiary institution workers, including pensioners, into one database.
This will help forestall any irregularities in the administration of both human resources and payroll processes.