A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Taiwo Lakanu to arrest the Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Works, Dr. Chibuzor Iwuagwu and the Director of civil works in the ministry, Engr. C.E. Egboka.
They are to bring them to the court on January 30, 2016 for refusing to appear before the court and to show reasons why they should not be committed to prison.
The warrant of arrest issued by the court came after the court had issued summons on five officials of the state government to appear before it last month following their disobedience to the order of the court, which restrained them from trespassing into the property of former Interior Minister, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho along Orlu Road, Owerri.
Other government officials involved in the matter are the state’s Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mrs. Josephine Udoji; her counterpart in the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, Lawrence Eburuo; and the Director of Works, Imo Government House, Emeka Duru.
They, however, escaped the arrest warrant because they evaded court service and as a result, were deemed not duly served.
They, in addition to the State Governor and the Imo State government were defendants to a suit (No. FHC/OW/133/2016) brought before the court by Captain Ihenacho, who had approached the court to save his property from being demolished by the state government.
Consequently, the court on July 3, 2016, restrained the defendants from entering or encroaching for the purpose of demolishing the property known and called No 6 Orlu Road, Owerri, pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed by the Ihenacho.
However, in spite of the order by the court, the officials of the state government still went ahead to demolish the property on three occasions.
But, returning to the court yesterday, counsel to the plaintiff, Ken Njemanze (SAN) told the court that he was in the court for the application of committal of the respondents who he said “have consistently disobeyed the orders of this court till date”.
Njemanze informed the court that just as it issued summons on the respondents to appear before it and show why they should not be committed to prison for demolishing the said property, “they (respondents) still went back to demolish the property immediately we left the court on November 14, 2016. By this action, they are prompting this court that it cannot do anything and that they are above the law”.
He expressed concern that the government was adopting deliberate design to frustrate the matter and that despite the fact that two of the respondents were duly served by the court bailiff, “they chose not to come because they feel they are above the law that’s why they treat the court with levity”, Njemanze stressed.
Ruling on the matter, after objections from the counsel to the defendants, Mrs. J. C. Ibe, the presiding judge, Justice Andrew Lewis Allagoa ordered the IGP and the Imo State Commissioner of Police to arrest and bring the two persons to the court on January 30, 2016 to show cause why they should not be committed to prison for disobeying the orders of the court.