Appeal Court judge accused of taking bribes to uphold Dapo Abiodun’s election slumps and dies

A federal appellate judge has died as processes for his elevation to the Supreme Court commenced.Judiciary sources told Peoples Gazette Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh passed on Wednesday evening in his home town of Makurdi.

He was 65.Mr Ikyegh was the president of the Port Harcourt Division until he suddenly slumped before his family members and was promptly pronounced dead, sources said. A spokesman for the National Judicial Council did not immediately return a request seeking comments about the development on Thursday afternoon

His death came weeks after political opposition in Ogun accused him of taking cash bribes to uphold the controversial reelection of Governor Dapo Abiodun, who already has a notoriety for corruption and abuse of office.

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.

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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