By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE suspended chairman of Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo state, Chief Johnson Emasealu, who went to court to challenge his suspension by Governor Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday, raised an alarm over alleged plot by the state government to manipulate the judiciary with a view to denying him justice.
It will be recalled that following the suspension of Chief Emasealu by Governor Oshiomhole over alleged misappropriation of council funds and inflation of contracts last February, a panel of inquiry was set up to investigate the matter.
Chief Emeasalu, who addressed newsmen in Benin City yesterday, saidÂ that the state government had perfected plans to destroy his reputation after he went to court and was told that the case file was missing.
But in a swift reaction, the Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Osagie Obayuwana, denied any involvement of the state government in the matter,Â explaining that a counsel to one of the parties in the suit had petitioned the Chief Judge of the state and requested that the case be transferred to another court after he expressed dissatisfaction with the way the case was being handled in that court.
â€œSo the trial judge in Igarra, where the case was initially being handled unilaterally transferred the case to Afuze in Owan East Local Government Area.
The state government does not have any right to call for the case file as they are insinuating. But I am aware that the Chief Judge has listened to the petition and had assigned the case to the state High Court in Auchi,â€ he said. Chief Emeasalu lamented that â€œif my suspension is properly applied, I was expected to be on suspension for maximum of two months. But now it is five months and the state government has continued to deny me fair hearing as enshrined in law.
The case which started under a God fearing judge of Edo State, no defense counsel showed up in the court. We are now left completely stranded, as Afuze High Court could not fix any date for further hearing of the matter.
â€œThe state government isÂ bent on humiliating me and soiling my name because I refused to join the Action Congress. I remember that the late Yarâ€™Adua and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, both Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members, are known to have extended hands of fellowship and friendship to the Governor,Â who is in the AC,â€ he said.