By Vincent Ujumadu
LEADERS of thought in Ugwu Awgbu autonomous community of Anambra State have asked an Awka High Court to commit the state’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Dubem Obaze, Head of Service of Orumba North local government area and six others to prison for allegedly refusing to obey and abide by the judgment of another Awka High Court which granted the community an autonomous status in 2006.
Hearing in the matter has already been fixed for February 8, 2011.
The summons, signed by the Assistant Chief Registrar of the court, said: “Take notice that this honourable court shall be moved on the 8th day of February, 2011, as the applicant or counsel on its behalf may be heard praying this Honourable Court for an order committing you to prison for having disobeyed the order of court made on the 11th day of December, 2006.”
Chief Mike Okafor, who sued for himself and on behalf of Ugwu Awgbu Autonomous community, excluding those joined in the suit, said in a 45 –point affidavit sworn to at the High Court that Ugwu Awgbu was one of the communities created by a law of Anambra State House of Assembly in 2002, adding that it was later issued with certificate of recognition by the state government.
He said in the affidavit that in 2004, the then Anambra State House of Assembly made another law repealing its previous law conferring autonomous status on the community which, he added, made all the affected communities in the state to challenge the decision in court.
According to him, “in suit No A/98/2004, I, as the president general of my community, still represented my community in that suit as the 6th plaintiff, while Ugwu Awgbu was listed as the 6th community being represented in the suit.
“The suit was decided in favour of the autonomous communities, which made the state government to appeal and further applied for a stay of execution, which was refused. The appeal is still pending.”
“Not withstanding the persisting judgment in our favour and our protest, the respondents are still treating our Ugwu Awgbu community as part of Awgbu Town which we are not.
“The most glaring and annoying aspect of the respondents’ disobedience to court order was the coronation of Mike Nwachukwu, who is from Amokwe village in our Ugwu Awgbu community, as the Igwe of Awgbu with authority over our community, as if the judgment they are disobeying does not exist.”
The affidavit said further that the head of service of Orumba North local government area has consistently refused to recognize any identification letter given to an indigene of Ugwu Awgbu if not signed by the traditional ruler of Awgbu, adding that six of the respondents, who are indigenes of Ugwu Awgbu but opposed to the existence of the autonomous community, had been making caricature of the community and the court judgment in its favour.
He argued that unless the respondents purge themselves of contempt, they would never obey the subsisting judgment, while the people of the community who are the beneficiaries of the judgment, would continue to suffer irredeemable damages perpetually.