By Ike Uchechukwu, Vanguard News Nigeria
High Court sitting in Calabar, Monday adjourned hearing of a matter between parties in a tussle over the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Cross River State.
Vanguard learned that the matter came up before Justice Bassey Ebuta, who adjourned it to February 24.
In charge N0: HC/82c/2022 between the Inspector General Of Police, respondent and Ugoji Nwabueze Esq. as the defendant. The court adjourned the case for hearing till February 24, 2022.
In a motion on notice brought before the court, counsel to defendant, Prof. Jacob Dada Esq. stated that hearing of the matter could have amounted to abuse of court process.
Recall that, Nwabueze in the case was dragged to court by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, for “parading” himself and “impersonating” to be the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Cross River State, based on a petition written by of some Igbo leaders and allegedly sponsored by some members the group.
Vanguard also learned that Nwabueze, who was a Vice President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Cross River State, assumed the position of President General after the demise of his predecessor which was in tandem with their constitution.
Findings however showed that months later some of his kinsmen wanted him to step aside, alluding that he was no longer suitable for the position.
More so, his refusal to step aside got a “faction” infuriated and they went to court in a bid to totally stop Nwabueze and ensure he no longer presents himself as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Cross River State.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the matter was heard at the State High court premises, Mary Slessor Avenue Calabar, Dada said due process was not followed in the “attempt” to arraign his client.
His words: “There are things which should have been done before the defendant was arraigned, those things which should have been done were not done accordingly.”
“Significantly for instance, notice of trial ought to have been prepared or issued. It has not been prepared, let alone issued on the defendant.” Dada stated.
Dada who further explained why the matter could not be heard said, “There is no way the defendant who is not aware of where he will be arraigned, will make himself available for arraignment.”
“The law is that anybody accused of infraction should be given fair hearing amongst others. You cannot say he was given an opportunity to be heard when the venue of the hearing was not known to him,” Dada stated.
However, Prosecuting Counsel, Barr. Alex Ewa, declined making any comment when he was asked to give insight into the matter.
Ohanaze Ndigbo is an apex Igbo socio-cultural group in Nigeria and represents all Igbo communities both within and diaspora.
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