On July 19, 2023, a blog post by the Igbo Times Magazine went viral. The news was titled “Justice Ugo Resigns, Citing Demands to ‘Kneecap’ Democracy, Says ‘’Siding with Tinubu’ Would Mean ‘The Death of Nigeria’s Democracy”
The blog post claimed that the Judge, who doubles as a member of the 2023 presidential election petition panel “resigned from the bench, citing demands from the executive branch that he believes would destroy the country’s democracy.”
The report was also shared on Twitter by Igbo Times Magazine, believed to be the Twitter handle of the blog page.
Similarly, another Twitter user Tweeted the same news on his verified page and in less than 10 hours of tweeting, the post has garnered over 528k views, surpassing the views of the first tweet by Igbo Times Magazine.
Claim: Did Justice Ugo resign from the bench?
On May 8, 2023, the presidential election tribunal began its pre-hearing at the Court of Appeal complex, Abuja. Justice Haruna Tsamani led the five-member panel while other justices of the panel included Justice Stephen Adah, Justice Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf, Justice Moses Ugo, and Justice Abba Mohammed.
Justice Ugo hails from Kolokuma/Qpokuma Local Government Area in Bayelsa State, South-south Nigeria and he is the youngest among the judges on the panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court. Until his assignment at the PEPC, the judge currently serves at the Kano Division of the Court of Appeal.
Furthermore, the CDD War Room ran a check on the blog page where the alleged resignation news was first published. We found that the blog page “Igbo Times Magazine” was registered on June 26, 2023, less than one month ago.
We further contacted Josephine Ekperobe, the secretary of the PEPC on the alleged resignation of Justice Ugo. She confirmed to us that the viral news is fake and that Justice Ugo is still a member of the 2023 presidential election tribunal panel.
Similarly, Bukola Gafar, the head of media and personal assistant to the President, Court of Appeal, described the news, which has since gone viral on social media, as “a fake report”.
The CDD War Room can confirm that Justice Ugo is still a judge of the Court of Appeal and a member of the 5-man panel presiding over the 2023 presidential election petition tribunal. Therefore, the viral news of his resignation is false.