Free Basic Education: Judge Fails To Deliver Judgment Because He Can’t Access ‘Clean Copy’ Of Law

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By Jonathan Ugbal

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Justice Bassey Ebuta of the High Court of Cross River State on Thursday failed to deliver judgment in a suit seeking to determine whether the collection of fees and levies from pupils in basic education classes at public-owned institutions in the State is wrong as enshrined in the State’s Universal Basic Education Law of 2006.

After delaying for two hours, Justice Ebuta began sitting and informed the parties that the judgment could not be read as he could not get a “clean copy” of the law.

“I have called your boss (Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Tanko Ashang,” Justice Ebuta told the Counsel to the defendants, Barr. Okon Asuquo.

He then turned to the Counsel to the plaintiff, Baba Isa, Esq. and said, “I could not get to you.”

Mr. Asuquo then promised to depart immediately to the Ministry and return with a copy of the law despite protests from Mr. Isa that a copy of the law was filed alongside his application to the Court to which Justice Ebuta replied that he needed a “physical copy, a clean copy.”

Despite pleas to shift the judgment date to Tuesday, June 21st, Justice Ebuta who initially suggested Friday (tomorrow), insisted on the parties returning on Monday, June 20th, for the judgment.

Mr. Isa told CrossRiverWatch that he looked forward to Monday even though he felt bad due to the cost implication.

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