Fact Check: Did Ebonyi Governor Umahi Vow to Support Biafra if Sacked by Court?

Fact Check: Did Ebonyi Governor Umahi Vow to Support Biafra if Sacked by Court?


Claims: A Facebook page, Anonymous Voice Television ATV, claims Dave Umahi said he would support Biafra if he is removed by court as the governor of Ebonyi state.

The page also claims that soldiers of the Nigerian Army prevented Umahi from accessing the Government House in Ebonyi.

Fact Check: Governor Umahi Did Not Vow to Support Biafra if Sacked by Court
Governor Umahi of Ebonyi state did not threaten to support Biafra if President Buhari “allows court” to remove him.
Photo credit: Governor David Nweze Umahi
Source: Facebook

The claims were published after the Federal High Court in Abuja sacked Umahi, his deputy, Eric Igwe from office for defecting from the PDP to the APC.

Verdict: False! Legit.ng‘s checks indicate that the governor did not make such comment in any of his reactions to his sack.

The governor’s media aide, Francis Nwaze, has also said his principal did not make such a comment.

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Nwaze also said the governor was not prevented from entering the Government House by the Nigerian Army

Full Text: Umahi’s sack by court

In November 2020, Governor Umahi and his deputy, Igwe, defected from the PDP on whose platform they were elected into office in the 2015 and 2019 to the APC.

Also, 15 lawmakers who were elected on the PDP platform had also joined the APC alongside the governor and his deputy.

Aggrieved by the development, the PDP sued Umahi, and Igwe, in one suit, and the 15 lawmakers in another suit.

Both the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were also joined as defendants in the two suits.

Delivering his judgement on the suits on Tuesday, March 8, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, sacked Umahi, his deputy, and the 15 lawmakers.

The judge declared the seats of the governor and his deputy, and those of the 15 lawmakers vacant and ordered them to vacate their offices immediately.

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He also ordered INEC to receive names of candidates from the PDP to replace Messrs Umahi and Igwe.

The judge held that “the votes in any election in Nigeria are to political parties, and not candidates.”

He also agreed with the PDP that by defecting from the party on which they were sponsored and elected, they had resigned or deemed to have resigned from office, Premium Times reported.

Umahi’s reaction

Apparently annoyed by the ruling, Governor Umahi accused the judge of being a “hatchet man” and claimed the judgment was “purchased”.

His outburst attracted the attention of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which berated him for the comment and demanded an apology from him.

The Ebonyi governor subsequently apologised to the judge and the NBA while he moved on to appeal the judgement and apply for stay if execution.

Verification: Umahi and the Biafra claim

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As heated reactions follow Umahi’s sack, Anonymous Voice Television ATV, a Facebook page, posted a statement on Tuesday claiming Governor Umahi said he will support Biafra if President Muhammadu Buhari allows court to remove him despite all his efforts in “keeping the (ruling) party in the southeast.

The page also claimed that soldiers of the Nigerian Army took over the Government House in Ebonyi state and barred Umahi from entering.

At the time of filing this piece, the first claim has been shared 256 times on Facebook with nearly 400 comments. The second has been shared 11 times.

To verify these claims, Legit.ng conducted a relevant keywords search on the court’s sack of Governor Umahi and his reactions.

Legit.ng’s checks indicate that no reputable media platform published the comment credited to Umahi by Anonymous Voice Television ATV.

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No credible media platform also reported the alleged take over of Ebonyi government house by the Nigerian Army.

Further checks also show that Governor Umahi made no such comment at the press conference held in reaction to the court judgement.

Umahi’s media aide reacts

The claim made by Anonymous Voice Television ATV also got the attention of the Ebonyi state government.

In a statement released on Thursday, March 10, Francis Nwaze, the Special Assistant to Ebonyi State Governor on Media and Publicity, said Umahi “at no time threatened to support Biafra agitations if Mr. President allows the Court to remove.”

“It is also worthy of mention that His Excellency the Governor at no time threatened to support Biafra agitations if Mr. President allows the Court to remove him and wouldn’t have done that knowing that due to separation of powers, the President cannot decide for the Judiciary which is a full-fledged arm of Government on its own,” the statement read partly.

Read also

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Regarding the alleged take over of the government house, Nwaze said “no such incident happened”.

Verdict

The claim that Governor Umahi threatened to support Biafra if removed as governor by court is false.

It is as not true that Governor Umahi was prevented from gaining entry into the Government House by the Nigerian Army following the pronouncement of the Federal High Court.

Source: Legit.ng





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