Contempt: Court Threatens to Jail Cross River Attorney General

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by crossriverwatch admin

Attah Ochinke, Cross River Attorney General
Attah Ochinke, Cross River Attorney General

A Cross River State High Court in Calabar has issued a final warning to the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Attah Ochinke for failing to carry out the Court order to publish the report of the Dr. Ambrose Akpanika led Administrative Panel of Enquiry into the succession tussle for the throne of the Muri Munene of Efut nation.

It will be recalled that after being duly selected and performing the requisite traditional rites to become the Muri Munene of the Efuts, Muri Effiong Mbukpa was in May 2012 attacked in the palace by thugs suspected to have been sponsored by a top government official.

He was violently sacked from the palace while properties were also vandalized. The palace has remained under lock and key since then while the monarch has since been operating from his personal home.

The government later set up an Administrative Panel of Enquiry headed by Dr. Ambrose Akpanika to investigate the crisis. The panel completed their work and submitted a report which the government has refused to make public till date.

The Court on 2nd July, 2013 in Suit No. HC/MSC/169/2012 instituted by the Combined Efuts Assembly, issued a Mandamus which reads “an order of mandamus be and is hereby directed to the government of Cross River State to publish the report and white paper in line with the report of the administrative panel of enquiry into the tussle for succession to the throne of Muri Munene Of Efut.”

The order which was signed by the Deputy Chief Registrar 1, High Court Registry was ignored by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Attah Ochinke and this necessitated a notice of consequences of disobedience to order of the court on 9th October, 2013 wherein the Court said: “take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in this order (Suit No. HC/MSC/169/2012) you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”

No one is sure if the State government is willing to take the Court seriously this time. Several attempts to hear from the Attorney General have been futile as he seem unwilling to comment on the issue.

Secretary of the Efuts Combined Assembly, Dabo Godwin Bassey while speaking to newsmen said “It is unfortunate that a simple Court order to publish a report of an administrative panel that government itself set up is being ignored”.

Mr. Bassey further averred that publishing the report and the white paper will go a long way to douse tension in the community.

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