By Onyebuchi Onwuchekwa

The trial of Chief Maurice Ozuzu, Mr. Victor Anyanwu, Mr. Fred Ugorji, Mr. Cyril Ojor, Mr. Romanus Chinagorom, Mr. Anthony Unachukwu, Hon. Andrew Sibigem and Raymond Achulonu, suffered setback on Thursday at the High Court of Imo State in Mbaitoli/ Ikeduru judicial Division Nwaorieubi, owing to the absence of case files in the courtroom.

Ozuzu and others are facing trial on committal for disobedience to order of court having neglected to obey the order made on 30th day of March, 2023, with suit no. HMI/31/2022, requiring them to comply with all the reliefs of the applicants which was granted by order of court.

Chief G.O. Anyalemechi (Brigadier – General) Rtd, Counsel for the applicant, frowned at what played out in the courtroom when his case was called up by the judge. Unfortunately, His Lordship Hon. Justice I. O. Agugua, informed him that the processes he filed none of them was there.

He said, ” I am really perplexed and wonder how it happened. I have been attending to this court over ten to twenty times and I’m such that very discipline, I do my things procedurally.

I filed from 48 – 49 against judgement Debtors for failing to obey the order of the court which was given on the 30th day of March. After everything, I now wrote to the written address accompanied with 17 paragraph affidavit attaching the court order that they are refusing to obey and filed them here neatly.

And the case was slated to hear on 13th July, only for me to reach here when the case was called up, the judge was saying where are the processes I filed, none of them was there.

I have just gone to the Registrar and I discovered that the Registrar is saying that’s Notice of Appeal, good a thing, three lawyers were in the Registrar’s office with me.

And, they told her that Notice of Appeal is not Appeal until they compile the Appeal and send it to Court of Appeal and Court of Appeal will give it number, and they will serve it to me and I will write my brief of argument.

Is it the first time or second time I have done something like this, I suspected they connived because I saw them in the Registrar’s office, the Debtors must have connived with the Registrar to remove my file. I will write a letter to Discipline Judiciary.

I am going to give them hearing Notice and reset the matter, they are going to look for the process I filed which is there in their Registry”. he stated.

Anyalemechi described the situation as an intentional negligence that ought to send the staffs to prison, for doing that to frustrate the due process of law.

When contacted the Deputy Director Court Services, Dr. C.C. Anyanwu, did not give any reason, saying that since two days they have been looking for the files which were later found.

In another development, there was a judgement order of the court restraining Respondents from further acts of threats and conspiracy to forcefully enter their ancestral lands of the Applicants, for the purpose of illegal harvesting their palm nuts for any unlawful purpose.

It also, directing Respondents to comply with the Resolution of Umuezealahie Kindred on palm closure Order, dated Saturday 12th March 2022, enclosed herein as Exhibit A.

And, of perpetual injunction restraining illegal palm closure in the entire Umuezeala village of Ngugo Obaire, in compliance with the directive of the President – General of Ngugo Autonomous Community Chief Paschal Nlem.

An order of fifty million naira (50, 000,000) general damages for causing apprehension to the Applicants and their families in pursuance of their threats to kill and conspiracy to steal palm nuts. As it was contained in the judgement order made available to journalists and the Committal proceeding has been adjourned to Thursday 20 July, 2023.

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