Fresh Revelations: Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno, Accused of Obtaining Counterfeit Court Order and Conspiring with Magistrate to Manipulate Conviction Records
In the aftermath of his recent inauguration as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, startling details have emerged regarding Governor Umo Eno’s alleged acquisition of a fake court order aimed at nullifying the judgment of an FCT Magistrate court that found him guilty of fraud against Godwin Edet Etim, a former contract staff at Exxon Mobil Producing Nigeria Ltd.
It is worth noting that Pastor Umo Eno had previously faced controversies surrounding his educational credentials and criminal conviction prior to his election and subsequent declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State on March 19, 2023.
Following his victory, the primary opposition candidates in the state, Obong Bassey Albert of the YPP and Obong Akan Udofia of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have taken legal action to challenge his electoral triumph at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Uyo. Their petition encompasses allegations of electoral malpractices, certificate forgery, and conviction for a crime.
Saharareporters has exclusively obtained court documents and certified true copies of the judgment, conclusively demonstrating that Governor Umo Eno was indeed convicted for the crime on December 20, 2022, rendering him ineligible to contest for the position of Governor of Akwa Ibom State. The conviction followed an extensive trial at the Magistrate Court in Abuja, as the crimes committed also had connections to the nation’s capital. Consequently, a criminal summons was issued against Governor Eno, leading to his arraignment, trial, and subsequent conviction by Magistrate Mr. Emmanuel Iyana, in accordance with Section 325 of the Penal Code Law.
When faced with his conviction, Umo Eno’s legal team filed a Motion on Notice on January 9, 2023, to set aside the issuance of the arrest warrant, but no further action was taken. The hearing was scheduled for January 13, 2023; however, to the surprise of all parties involved, Magistrate Mr. Emmanuel Iyanna appeared on January 13, 2023, and declared that he had quashed the conviction on January 11, 2023, without prior hearing or notifying the concerned parties.
SaharaReporters discovered that the bailiff of the Magistrate court, Mr. Daniel Ochai, whose name appeared on the alleged certificate of service, submitted an affidavit denying any involvement in the fraudulent proceedings and records of January 11, 2023.
Both the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court and the Magistrate have been accused of attempting to obstruct the process by tampering with court records in Governor Umo Eno’s favor. This suspicion arose due to the Chief Judge’s suspension of the hearing of appeals on all criminal cases and the disbandment of the appeal panel through a directive.
Infuriated by these actions, the lawyers representing the complainant wrote a letter demanding the reconstitution of the appeal panel and insisted that the appeal must be heard within seven days. They also informed the National Judicial Council about the judges’ unprofessional and disgraceful conduct.
Promptly responding to their request, the FCT Chief Judge reconstituted another appeal panel, with Hon. Justice Belgore presiding and Hon. Justice M. B. Idris assisting.
A leaked plot involving former Governor Udom Emmanuel’s aides and the FCT Judiciary has revealed an attempt to delay the appeal process until after May 29, 2023, in order for Umo Eno to be sworn in as Governor and subsequently gain immunity from further prosecution related to his conviction and the alleged fraudulent proceedings that purportedly quashed his criminal conviction.
In light of these developments, Umo Eno’s legal team, led by Paul Usoro, SAN, requested that the matter be adjourned to a distant date. However, counsel for the complainants, Ibrahim Idris, SAN, urged the court to expedite the hearing and conclude the appeal before May 29, 2023, in accordance with Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution. Justice Belgore adjourned the case to June 2, 2023, after the inauguration.
The case has been further adjourned to June 19, 2023.