An Imo State high court sitting in Owerri on Monday dismissed the Suit filed by the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Council Chairmen against the Imo State Government seeking for elongation of their two-year tenure in office which expired on 8 August 2012. In a two hours judgement, the presiding judge, Justice Ngozi Opara reviewed the submissions by the parties and dismissed the case on the ground of gross abuse of court processes by the former council chairmen.
He pointed out that the same case is pending at the Federal High court in Abuja with same Jurisdiction which translates to abuse of court processes.
Justice Opara added that the court has jurisdiction to hear the case, but however lacks the powers to elongate the tenure of an elective position.
He thereafter dismissed the case and awarded a cost of N40, 000.00 against the PDP Council Chairmen.
Meanwhile, Counsel to the state government, Niyi Akintola had earlier argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case since the claimants had served out their tenure as contained in the court of Appeal Judgment of May 5th, 2012.
He argued that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case as it lacks the powers to elongate tenured position of the former council chairmen against the provisions of the law as amended by Imo State House of Assembly and duly assented by the former Governor of the state.
On the other hand, the counsel to the former chairmen, and Secretary of ALGON in the state, Onuegbu Eyinnaya contended that the court has jurisdiction to hear the case, stating that their tenure was unconstitutionally and illegally truncated by their sack on 6 May 2011 and that since they were out of office for more than a year, their tenure should be elongated to regain the lost period.
He argued that the two-year tenure was signed after they had started their election process on 25 February 2010 and that the law should not be in retrospect.
The counsel further argued that hearing the case does not in any way amount to abuse of court processes because the defendants have not been able to prove to the court that a similar suit is going on elsewhere since no certified court process has been tendered before the court.
The principal secretary to the deputy governor of Imo state, Mr Emenike Ihekwoaba has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen.
Mr Ihekwoaba was kidnapped on Sunday on his way to his home town in Nkwerre local government area of Imo state.
Mr Ihekwoaba with his wife left Isiala Mbano after a church service to proceed to his home town for a function before he was abducted at gun point along Amarakwu-Agbaja road in Isiala Mbano local government area of the state at about 1PM.
The Chief Press Secretary to the deputy governor, Mr Onyeama Opara who broke the news noted that the case has been reported to all the security operatives in the state.
He added that the kidnappers have neither made any contact nor demanded any ransom from families and relations of Mr Ihekwoaba since his abduction.
However, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer who confirmed the kidnap said, all measures are being put in place to ensure that the deputy governor’s aide is rescued alive.
He called on individuals and the general public to assist the police with good available information needed on the kidnap.
A federal high court in Abuja on Wednesday granted the Chairmen of the 27 local government councils in Imo State sacked by the state governor, Rochas Okorocha leave to apply for a judicial review of the governor’s action. In giving the lawyer of the council chairmen, Cyprian akolosa the leave to apply for a judicial review of the dissolution of the local government areas in Imo State, Justice Gladys Olotu stated that the leave so granted will “operate as a stay in the in the interim of all actions and proceedings in the dispute between the local government councils in Imo State and the Imo State government pending the hearing and determination of the suit”.
Upon granting the above reliefs in favour of the Plaintiff/Applicant, the Judge who is sitting as a vacation Judge adjourned the case to September 11, 2012 “for hearing of the substantive application for a judicial review”.
In a separate matter before a high court in Owerri, Imo State, the state government had argued that the council bosses were inaugurated on August 9, 2010 on two-year tenure and are supposed to vacate office on August 8, 2012.
But the chairmen of the 27 local government councils differed with the argument saying that they were elected on a three-year tenure that would elapse in 2013.
The Imo state government has established a new agency called the Imo Geographical Information Agency a subsidiary of the Ministry of Lands and Survey with the main priority of making sure that all land documents and data are being computerised and also ensure that there is adequate information on all the Lands allocated in Imo State.
Speaking to Channels Television in Owerri the Imo state capital after an executive council meeting, the Imo State Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mr. Uche Nwosu said the establishment of the agency is in line with the Okorocha led administration’s aim of tackling corruption in the Ministry of Land as well as fulfill his promise of adding new technological skills in all the state Ministries.
He said “with the establishment of the agency, there won’t be any case of missing files, double allocation of lands and forgery of Certificate of occupancy”.
Nwosu also said “all Landlords and Land owners in the State especially in the state capital will have to come back and register afresh with the agency so they could have a new database”.
The Commissioner debunked the allegations that the state government is forcefully revoking Lands belonging to individuals in the state, saying lands were only revoked from land owners who have not adhered strictly to the Land Use Act of Imo state and Nigeria.
The Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo has received books worth N7.8million donated by Dorena Books Centre, a multinational book publishing company, as its corporate social responsibility in supporting education in Nigeria.
Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Adaobi Obasi said the donations of the books will go a long way to support the reading culture of the students and boast their interest in research as well as fast track the accreditation process of some courses in the school.
Mrs. Obasi added that the funding of education in the country should not be left for the government to do; she called on well-meaning citizens of the state to take advantage of the public private partnership initiative and help develop the education sector in the state to order to meet up with world standard.
The polytechnic was formerly a College of Agriculture but was converted four years ago to its current status.
Rector of the school, Rev. Wence Madu said it is the first time in the history of the school that such a donation is being made to the library.
He further disclosed that the donation is out of divine providence as it will put the school in good light with the visit of the national regulatory body (National Universities Commission) one week away.
The body will be visiting in order to accredit 12 more programmes for the school.
Dorena said the donation is aimed to key into the public private partnership initiative of the Imo state government.
The presentation took place at the school premises in Umuagwo, Ohaji Egbema local government area of the state.
Unknown men said to be hired assassins have attacked and killed Emmanuel Adoba an aide to Ben Uwajimogu, the Speaker of the Imo State house of Assembly at his residence in Okuku village,Owerri West Local government area of Imo State in the early hours of Wednesday
Mr Adoba served as the Special Adviser on administration to the Speaker Imo house of assembly. His body was found in a pool of blood with several cuts all over his body.
In a statement signed by the press secretary to the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly officially notifying the public of Mr Adoba’s death, the Speaker described the incident as a shock to him and said it is a big loss to the House of Assembly and the entire state. He however offered the sum of N500, 000 for anyone with any useful information about the death of his murdered aide.
Meanwhile, Security Operatives in the state have already swung into action in order to unravel the mystery behind the gruesome murder.
Imo state Governor,Owelle Rochas Okorocha has called on the 27 PDP Council Chairmen in the state to resume their respective offices after a 3 week feud between the Okorocha led administration and the 27 PDP Local government council chairmen following the judgement of the appeal court.
At a meeting in Government House Owerri, the Governor lamented the absence of the Council Chairmen in the meeting which he invited them for in order to find a lasting solution to the lingering issue.
He said their absence will not deter him from suing for peace in the state as the interest of the people of Imo state supercedes any other interest in the state.
He added that the issue of the Council chairmen has generated unnecessary controversies in the state and he has taken a bold step to ensure that peace reigns in Imo state.
The Governor noted that his administration is ready to work and partner with the Council Chairmen in his realization of his rescue mission agenda for the state as well as help him tackle corruption that has eaten deep in the Local Government system.
He called on the council chairmen to resume their respective offices and normal activities should resume with immediate effect.
The Imo State government has vowed to impound as many vehicles as possible and also punish those who are guilty of operating illegal motor parks in the Owerri metropolis. The Imo State Commissioner for transport and Special Duties, Ifeanyi Nwachukwu, who in the compant of officials of the Joint Task Force (JTF) was on a scheduled inspection to some illegal motor parks, said that these illegal parks scattered around the Owerri metropolis and commercial vehicles that load passengers along the roadside have been obstructing traffic and causing unnecessary hold up within Owerri.
He said it is the plan of the Rochas Okorocha led administration to sanitize the Owerri metropolis and make it a world class city.
Mr Nwachukwu however warned all the operators of the illegal parks to vacate them move into the legal and approved motor parks, authorized by the state government within the metropolis. He said any vehicle seen loading passengers, at these unauthorized parks will be impounded and operators will be prosecuted accordingly in the law court.
Meanwhile the Imo State chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lloyd Chukwuemeka, lauded the government for setting up the Joint Task Force of traffic de-congestion committee.
He called on all his members to cooperate with the state government in order to put an end to the traffic congestion experienced within the Owerri metropolis.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke on Tuesday asked the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha to allow the sacked local government Chairmen in the state to resume office as ruled by the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal in Owerri earlier this month reinstated the ousted elected chairmen and councillors of the 27 Local Government Areas in the state. In a unanimous judgement, the court declared that going by Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution and Section 23(1) of the Local Government Law 2000 (as amended), the governor has no competence or power either by his person or through any person acting on his behalf to dissolve democratically-elected chairmen of the 27 local government areas of the state.
In statement issued from his office, the Minister of Justice said “the attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to the lingering controversy that has trailed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Owerri Judicial Division in Appeal No. CA/OW/215/2011, Barr Enyinna Onuegbu & 26 Ors v. Attorney General of Imo State & 3 Ors dated 5th July 2012 which declared as illegal and unconstitutional the action of the Governor of Imo State, purporting to dissolve the democratically elected Local Government Councils in the State before the expiration of their constitutionally guaranteed tenure.”
Mr Adoke explained “that section 7 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, guarantees the existence of a system of democratically elected Local Government Councils throughout the federation. The judgment of the Court of Appeal aforementioned has only confirmed this position.
“I therefore call on all concerned to respect the judgment of the Court of Appeal and give due regard to the provisions of the Constitution which all elected officials of government have sworn to uphold. This will not only inspire confidence in the polity but will also deepen our fledgling democracy.
“In the light of the foregoing and in consonance with this administration’s avowed commitment to the enthronement of the rule of law in the federation, I hereby call on Imo state Government and all relevant agencies of government to abide by the judgment of the Court of Appeal and ensure that the judgment of the Court of Appeal is given its full effect.
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP) in the South East has shown determination to restore power in Imo State to the party in the next election year.
The regional leaders of the PDP disclosed this when they paid a solidarity visit to the Imo State PDP at the party secretariate in Owerri, the state capital.
The National Vice Chairman, South- East of the PDP, Austin Akubondu, who led the delagation said that the recent ruling by the court of appeal on the case of the 27 PDP elected Council chairmen, has clearly shown Imo State is a PDP dominated state and all preparations are on top gear to ensure that the state remains a PDP governed state in the next dispensation.
Mr Akubondu, however condemned the step taken by the Imo state government to stop the council chairmen from resuming their respective offices as directed by the court, he said it is unconstitutional and unacceptable and by this reason, all notable politicians in the party are putting all measures in place to get the council chairmen back to office.
This is the first time Mr Akubondu is visiting Imo state since elected as National Vice chairman of the PDP South East.
Speaking to journalist after the meeting, Mr Akubondu disclosed that the party is putting all necessary measures and reinforcement in place to ensure that the party returns power to the PDP in the next election as their plan is to take over the governance of the state in the next election year.
Meanwhile, out of the three years tenure for the Council Chairmen as constitutionally provided, only two months is remaining for the council bosses to stay in office.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria, a subsidiary of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) on Thursday warned the public against doing business or erecting structures close to High Tension Power Transmission Tower at various locations around the country.
The company gave the warning at a Town Hall meeting organised by the executive officers of the company during a scheduled visit to Nekede autonomous Community in Imo State where their Owerri- Ahoada 132KV Line Power Transmission Tower is close to collapsing due to the illegal mining activities around the base station.
The company officials noted that the 132KV power transmission tower which serves, Imo state and other neighbouring states including Bayelsa, Abia and Rivers is at the moment in a critical state and if peradventure it collapses, there will be total power blackout in these states for about six months apart from the electrocution danger it will cause for people living in the vicinity.
The Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs of the company, Dave Ifabiyi noted that it has come to the notice of the Company that people in the area dig for laterites and kaolin close to the base station. He said apart from the hazard of the blackout, people should be aware of the health implication of such activity
On a visit to the 132KV transmission power site, the General Manager, Transmission Company Port-Harcourt Zone, Adeeko Adekunle expressed displeasure at the sorry sight of the area, he advised people involved in mining around the transmission station to desist from such acts to avoid any further damage.
Leaders of the community who spoke at the town hall, promised to cooperate with the Company and put all measures in place to ensure there is an end to the heinous act.
In the meantime, the Transmission Company of Nigeria has started local publicity to sensitize the indigenes of the area of the danger involved in doing business and building structures close to the high tension power transmission tower.
The company said it has also employed the services of security agencies in the state to prosecute any offender caught doing business around tension cables.
Tragedy struck this morning at Umuakoro Village in Emekuku Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo state as 9 bodies of the Pascal Njoku Family were found dead at their residence in the early hours of today.
Sources said Mr. Pascal Njoku who works and resides in Port-harcourt, Rivers state, came back home for the final burial of his mum who died some months ago and he was accompanied by his wife, 5 children, his sister-in-law and her son. Shortly after the burial event yesterday night, they all went to their respective rooms to sleep.
However, in the early hours of today, all nine of them were found dead. At the moment the reason of their deaths could not be ascertained but sources said their mouths were all foaming profusely when the bodies were brought out of the rooms.
The Imo State Commissioner of health Obi Njoku who visited the scene of the occurence said from the foaming found in their mouth, there is a possibility that they might have died of food poisioning but however, the state government will carry out an autopsy to know the cause of their death.
Meanwhile, in a telephone conversation with the state Police Public relations Officer Mister Vitalis Olugu, he said the case has been reported to the police and the police have swung into action to know the cause of their death, no arrest has been made.