Stop harassing Ogbaru Market leaders, Court orders Ngonadi, others

Alphonsus Nweze

Justice Alexius Okuma of Atani High Court has directed the Anambra State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Christian Ngonadi and other officials of the Ministry to stop harassing the chairman of Ogbaru Main Market, Chief Ndubuisi Ochiogu and the members of his executives with security operatives.

Justice Okuma issued the order on Friday when the case brought by Ochiogu led executive against the Commissioner for Commerce and Attorney-General of the state came up for hearing at Onitsha High Court.
The directive came following the complaints by the counsel to the leadership of Ogbaru Main Marrket, Chief Ben Uzuegbu (SAN ) that the order of the court that the status quo ante bellum should be maintained was not obeyed by the commissioner and his officials.

He stated that they have been harassing his clients with invitation to the Police and Directorate of State Services (DSS).

The Principal State Counsel, Loveline Ezude, who appeared for the commissioner and others however accused Ochiogu and his executives of using thugs to harass and intimidate traders in the market.

Justice Okuma in his directive said there was no need for the inolvememt of the security operatives by the government officials in a matter being handled by the court, noting that government as the father of all should always toe the line of civility in the discharge of their duties.

He warned that no trader in the market should be harassed, touched or stopped from carrying out their legitimate business.

Justice Okuma also warned that he should not hear that the leadership of the market imposed any levy on the traders to collect money to pay Judge, saying he would not hesitate to descend heavily on anybody found involved in such act.
He said if an individual trader has a problem, the commissioner or any other government official don’t need to come into the matter, when he knows that the matter is in the court, rather such matter should be brought to the notice of the court.

Speaking to newsmen, Chief Uzuegbu said in a situation where an allegation was made that something happened in the market but the Attorney General and Commissioner were not there and the allegations were not against them, but individual problem. They are not suppose to come into the matter, when they knew that the traders are in the court and there is an order of the court that the status quo ante bellum be maintained.

He said until the matter is disposed off, the president and every other person will be working until the final order is made.
“We don’t know what will be the final order, it maybe in our favour, it may be against us, if it is against us, we go home or we appeal. We are not in stone age where whatever you want to do, you do it or when you have a problem with your brother, you start using your mght. No. the new society is when you have a problem, report to an independent arbiter, which is the court,” said the SAN.

Uzuegbu said the court will dispassionately look at the matter “and if at the end of the day, the court comes up with its decision, if you don’t accept the decision, there is another court until you get to the supreme court, then you leave it to God.”

He said it is important for this government that promised the people a rule of law and due process to live to its promises.

“They promised everything would be done through due process but with what is happening is that we are asking questions, were we deceived, when we were voting for this government?
It is only Abacha government that was known not to have obeyed court order. How can the government of Prof. Soludo not obey court order. When all of us kept vigil to make sure he is there. He is now saying I can do everything that i want to do because I am the governor. So, it is really disturbing because it is like l am in a dream. I can’t understand, knowing Soludo’s atecedents. I feel that things should be done according to the rule of law going by what he said in the past. I felt there won’t be any problem, but this case is an eye opener, showing us that politicians can be saying one thing and meant another. But let’s wait until we see the way the whole thing will pan out. So far the Judge has warned them to stop disturbing these traders until we return back on March 17, 2022.

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