Appeal Court judge slumps, passes away during promotion to Supreme Court

A federal appellate judge has di£d as processes for his elevation to the Supreme Court commenced, Peoples Gazette is recording.

Judiciary sources told Peoples Gazette Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh passed on Wednesday evening in his home town of Makurdi. He was 65. Ikyegh was the president of the Port Harcourt division until he suddenly slumped before his family members and was promptly pronounced d£ad, sources said.

His d£ath came weeks after political opposition in Ogun accused him of taking cash bribes to uphold the controversial reelection of Governor Dapo Abiodun.

Mr. Ikyegh led the panel that upheld a lower tribunal decision, which was hinged largely on a technical claim that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party described as ‘purported’ the initial certification of Mr Abiodun by electoral office INEC. He was joined by another judge on the three-member panel.

The last judge, Jane Esienanwan Inyang, dissented in the matter, saying there was no justification for upholding Mr Abiodun as governor. The matter was promptly appealed to the Supreme Court by Ladi Adebutu, Mr Abiodun’s main challenger in the March 18 governorship poll.

Judiciary watchdogs said the ruling was among the most controversial of election petition verdicts so far this season. Mr Abiodun denied all allegations of judiciary interference, and family and friends described Mr Ikyegh as a thoroughbred jurist who lived his life delivering justice to the Nigerian people. An NJC official confirmed an outstanding petition but declined further comments on the matter.

Born in 1958, Mr Ikyegh was on the list of judges due for elevation as associate justices of the Supreme Court, an exercise kicked off days ago and was expected to be completed before December 31, 2023.

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