Court Orders Arrest of Uba, Nzeribe

Posted by This Day (Lagos) on 2003/07/27 | Views: 796 |

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Court Orders Arrest of Uba, Nzeribe

Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra State yesterday got an order of mandamus from the Federal High Court in Enugu compelling the Attorney Genreal of the Federation, Chief Akinlolu Olujimi, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, to arrest his abductors during an attempt to remove him from office on July 10.

By Chidi 'Uzor
Lagos And Charles Onyekamuo in Awka

Gov loses application to stop APGA petition

Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra State yesterday got an order of mandamus from the Federal High Court in Enugu compelling the Attorney Genreal of the Federation, Chief Akinlolu Olujimi, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, to arrest his abductors during an attempt to remove him from office on July 10.

But Ngige was not so lucky at the tribunal hearing a challenge to his election by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate for the April 19 governorship elections in Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi.

Ngige's counsel had prayed the tribunal to throw off the case on the grounds that Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, former governor of Anambra State who won most of the votes in Ihiala Local Government Area, which the petitioner is contesting was not joined in the suit.

The High Court presided by Hon. Justice C.E. Archibong ordered "that leave is hereby granted to the applicant to apply for writ of manda mus to compel the respondents jointly and severally to investigate, arrest and prosecute these persons."

The persons are Chief Chris Uba (Eselu), Hon. Chuma Nzeribe, Hon. I.G. Abana, Hon. (Mrs.) Eucharia Azodo, Dr. Okey Udeh, Dr. Amanchukwu Ezike, and Mr. Raphael Ige (AIG). Others include Mr. Emordi (former secretary to the Anambra State Government), Uche Ekwuemfe (Mrs.) of Standard Trust Bank.

The court order indicates that the persons were being tried "for conspiracy to remove a governor from office during his tenure of office as the governor of Anambra State, and unlawfully depriving a governor of his liberty with the intent to remove him as the governor.

The order also put the return date to 18th August, 2003 and that the respondents shall be put on notice. The order was signed by L.O. Egbuche, a senior Assistant Registrar.

The Anambra State Government and Ngige prayed the court for an order of the Honourable court granting leave to the applicant to apply for an order of manda mus to compel, and for such further orders as the honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

While Ngige succeeded at the High Court in Enugu, he failed at the tribunal sitting in Awka as the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka yesterday struck out an application file by him. Ngige whose election is being challenged by the APGA candidate in the April 19, guber elections, Mr. Peter Obi, querying the competence of the petition which he claimed didn't join necessary parties.

Obi's counsels led by Senator Nathaniel Anah (SAN), had replied to the application, insisting that the petition was competent as it joined all the necessary parties.

While delivering ruling, the tribunal chairman, Justice G.M. Nabaruma, dismissed the application as lacking in merit. He held that the petition joined the necessary parties and therefore, "satisfies the requirements of the law. On the issue that former governor of the state, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, was not joined having scored the highest number of valid votes cast in Ihiala local government area of the state, his home council, where APGA is contesting the election, the tribunal said the issue did not arise.

Joining Mbadinuju as contended by Ngige, the tribunal said, was not necessary. "It holds no issue" as it is only the person who succeeded in the election can be petitioned against. The chairman cited an authority to support the position of the tribunal.

APGA National Treasurer, Mr. Victor Umeh, while reacting to the ruling said it was a "sign of good things to come."

Umeh said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) no longer contain the evil they committed in Anambra State during the general elections, expressing the hope that the ruling was a harbinger of what Anambra people should expect at the end of the sitting.

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