Lawyer Accuses Gov. Soludo Of Encouraging Disobedience As Judge Threatens To Stop Sitting Over Non-compliance With Orders Made By Her Court
A judge of the Anambra State High Court, Justice Peace Otti, has threatened to stop sitting if the disobedience to her court’s orders continues.
Visibly angry when she entered the court on Thursday, Justice Otti of High Court 3, Awka Judicial Division, told lawyers and litigants that she had come only to announce that she had decided to stop sitting until proper explanations were given for the non-compliance with orders made by her court.
For instance, she stated that she had ordered against the further arrest of some litigants in a matter before her court. However, some police operatives from the Force Headquarters, Abuja, came around 8 pm, arrested the litigants, and whisked them away to Abuja, citing “conducts likely to cause a breach of peace.”
“I only came to inform you that I have decided to stop sitting because it is a waste of time for me to continue sitting when the orders made by the court are not being obeyed.
“This court made an order barring further arrest of some litigants in a matter before this court, pending the determination of the substantive case. Yet, some police officers from Abuja came without any court order and abducted these litigants, taking them to Abuja for ‘conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.’
“I have decided not to sit again until the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, CP Aderemi Adeoye, comes and explains to the court why the police, who are supposed to enforce the court’s orders, are disobeying them.
“Nigeria has just become very lawless, and I am no longer ready to be wasting my time coming here to sit and make orders that will not be obeyed,” she insisted.
The second matter Justice Otti later entertained, after being persuaded by some senior lawyers in the court to sit, was the case instituted by the dethroned traditional ruler of Nwafia community in Njikoka local government area, Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo, challenging his dethronement.
Justice Otti had, on June 21, 2022, made an order setting aside the certificate of recognition issued to one Chief Dan Obelle as the monarch of the community by the immediate past administration of Chief Willie Obiano, and later made another order barring Chief Dan Obelle from parading as either “Eze/Igwe of Nwafia” pending the determination of Igwe Nwankwo’s suit.
Nwankwo, in his suit, named the Anambra State government, the Attorney General of Anambra State, and the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council as defendants.
Contrary to the orders of Justice Otti, the Anambra State government has been according Chief Obelle recognition as the monarch of Nawfia. He even marked the “Igu Aro” ritual early this year, during which he conferred traditional titles on 40 persons, without the police arresting him for violating the court’s order.
Dethroned Igwe Nwankwo’s legal counsel, Chief C. J. Okoli Akirika, accused the state governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, of encouraging the disobedience of the court’s order by the continued recognition of Chief Obelle as Nawfia’s monarch by the government, despite the court’s order.
“There is no court order staying the execution of the order, and there is no appeal against the order of the court,” Okoli Akirika stated.
Meanwhile, Soludo’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Protocol, Mr. Chinedu Nwoye, who hails from Nawfia, insisted in an interview that he would continue to accord Obelle recognition as the traditional ruler of their community because he (Obelle) is the person the state government recognizes.
“I am an official of the Anambra State government, so, as a government official, I am recognizing Dan Obelle as the traditional ruler of Nwafia because he is the person the state government recognizes,” he stated.
The Nawfia Igweship tussle has pitted the Commissioner for Local Government, Community, and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Tony Collins Nwabunwanne, against Soludo’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Protocol, Mr. Chinedu Nwoye.
According to sources, Nwabunwanne was not happy that Nwoye was using his closeness to Soludo to encourage lawlessness in the affairs of his ministry.