Ogbaru Main Market Crisis: Ochiogu, Obidike know Fate, November 11

Alphonsus Nweze

The elected Chairman of Ogbaru Main Market, popularly known as Relief Market, Chief Ndubuisi Ochiogu and the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the market, Chief David Obidike  will on November 11, 2022 know their fate  in the leadership tussle case now pending before an Atani High Court, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Justice Alexious Okuma of Atani High Court again adjourned  till November 11, 2022, for  judgement. The fundamental right application  brought by Chief Ndubisi  Ochiogu and others against the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Obinna Ngonadi, his Ministry of Justice counterpart and others challenging his removal and imposition of a Caretaker Committee.

The adjournment  followed the absence of the Judge on July 22, 2022,  the day he had earlier fixed  to deliver the judgement.

In the case, Ochiogu through his lawyer, Chief Ben Uzuegbu (SAN) is  praying the court to quash his sack and replacement with a Caretaker Committee by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry without hearing his side of the allegations levelled against him by his opponents.

He said  the commissioner and his cohorts cannot rely on the mere allegations from one side to sack him even with  a Court order that status quo ante bellum should be maintained in the matter.

However, the counsel to the Ministry of Commerce and others, Loveline Ezude opposed the application, saying that the ministry would still give Ochiogu fair hearing after he had vacated office.

The case was earlier adjourned for judgement on  July 1, 2022, but Justice Okuma sitting at Onitsha cited four authorities by the Supreme Court and asked the  counsels to  both parties to address the court on the  cases as they relate to the current  matter.

The cases,  according to Justice Okuma touched on the jurisdiction, saying that they should go, read  them and address the Court, connecting the cases with their own case to guide him in writing his judgement.

He also directed that they should file their addresses within seven days and return back on July 22,2022 for judgement.

However, on July 22, the Judge did not sit and the case was adjourned till November 11, 2022 apparently after the vacation by  Judges.

The Commissioner and his agents observed in breach, the order of the Court to maintain status quo ante bellum when they broke into Ochiogu’s office, chased away his staff and ransacked it.

Ochiogu was elected  as the Chairman of the Market on January 25, 2022 election held at Fegge Stadium. Obidike contested but lost to Ochiogu who beat  other contestants for the position of the Chairman of the Market.

But no sooner than Professor. Chukwuma Soludo was sworn in and his Commissioners appointed,  than they sacked 31 Markets which had Caretaker leadership,  including Ogbaru Main Market that had  conducted its election.

Ochiogu was replaced with Obidike who was his opponent in the election he won, an action which Ochiogu claimed infringed on his fundamental rights, since he was not given fair hearing in all the allegations against him

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