…As court sits under heavy security
By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—THE ABIA State High Court, sitting at Okpuala Ngwa, which was attacked last week, yesterday sat under heavy security with the presiding Judge, Justice Collington Okoroafor lamenting that the Acting Chief Judge of the State and the Chief Registrar of the State Courts want to undo him in the matter.
The matter is between the Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe- led faction of the APC that is currently backed by a court order and the Hon. Donatus Nwankpa faction. They are contesting which faction is the authentic APC leadership in Abia State.
The premises of the court and the surrounding environment were taken over before the court began sitting by regular policemen, operatives of DSS, men of NSDSC, while both the army and navy personnel mounted sentry in front of the court in two pickup vans.
Justice Okoroafor who was forced not to sit last week because of the violent attack on the court by some political thugs allegedly mobilized by the Nwankpa faction of the party, expressed surprise at the attitude of the Acting CJ over the attack, saying that he called the Acting Chief Judge four times to tell him what happened but he did not pick his calls.
He said however that the Acting Chief Judge later sent him a text message, informing him that he was in a seminar but lamented that “since 24th October, 2018 [the day of the attack on his court] the Acting CJ has not called me to know what happened. I called him four times that day, he did not pick; he later sent me a text message that he was in a seminar”.
According to the presiding Judge who was narrating to lawyers in his court the attitude of the CJ and Chief Registrar over the pending matter, said that the most annoying thing was that the Chief Registrar tore into shreds, the report of last week’s attack on the Court submitted to him by the senior registrar of the court.
“The CR collected the report of what happened and tore them into pieces. What they did was very fraudulent because you cannot remove a pending case just like that. As at now, no order has been served on me by the Acting CJ. What I have is a letter, not an order as the law stipulates. I have just a letter before the file was stolen.
“I am following the law and the rule of the court. The Acting CJ and CR are now violating the rules they made, it is act of mischief. I will strictly follow the law and the rules regarding transfer of a case”, Justice Okoroafor said.
Speaking further, Okoroafor disclosed that when he later called the Acting Chief Judge, he expressed surprise that “I am still holding on to the matter after he has transferred it to Osisioma.
“The Acting CJ wants to undo me in this case. It is a case of mischief. Nobody can intimidate me; you can do that only with facts. If I do any wrong, go the Appeal Court, it is only Court of Appeal that will correct a lower court.
“The senor registrar of this court swore to a 21-paragraph affidavit and a report dated 25th of October detailing what happened in the court on the 24th, submitted it to the CR but Benson Anya tore the report. They asked the Osisoma Judge to urgently hear the case.”
After listening to other lawyers, Justice Okoroafor adjourned the mater to November 12, 2018, for pending applications, including the one for transfer earlier filed by the defendants which has not been heard before the case file was removed without unauthorisation.