Birth certificate forgery: Court dismisses suit, declines to disqualify Gov.Wike


Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday dismissed the suit filed by one Elvis Chinda seeking to disqualify Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State from contesting today governorship election over alleged birth certificate forgery.

The Court dismissed the suit while ruling on the preliminary objection filed by Gov Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the suit.

Though, Justice Ekwo agreed with defendant   lawyer that Gov. Wike has immunity from being  prosecuted under our Constitution, the judge said the immunity clause don’t prevent the governor who presented himself for re- election from being sued on election related matter like in this case.

He, however, disagreed with the plaintiff lawyer that the suit was not a pre election matter.

The suit, he held was purely a pre- election matter because the relief sought by plaintiff was seeking  to disqualify the 2nd defendants (Governor Nyesom Wike) from contesting an election.

Justice Ekwo said that being a preelection matter “the suit is status bar,” because it was not commenced “within the 14 days allowed by law”.

According to the judge, the plaintiff position that the cause of action arose (13 Nov 2018) when he obtained a Certified True Copy of INEC document containing the forged birth certificate, “was strange.”

Justice Ekwo said that the cause action arose when the plaintiff had reasonable ground that Wike submitted forged birth certificate. As at the time 7 March 2018 when he applied to INEC for the document he had reasonable ground that the    was forged. ” Not initiated when the cause of action arise” the action is status bar.

The Court also described the suit as an abuse of court process. Justice Ekwo said that the suit  was commenced when an appeal filed by the plaintiff lawyer on same matter is pending before the Court of Appeal. He decried the action as a professional misconduct.

In his judgment on the substantive suit which was argued along the preliminary objection, Justice Ekwo held that the allegation of forgery of Wike birth certificate ought to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

He said the burden of prove did not shift to the defendants but lied with plaintiff. Though the plaintiff tendered a CTC from INEC, he added ,” there was no payment receipt to show that it is an evidence from the commission.”

Plaintiff lawyer, Achinike William- Wobodo told journalists after the judgment that his client will appeal the decision while Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) who represented Gov Wike said the judgment vindicated their position.


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