By Mary Bassey Godwin, Esq
Following the very strange order made by His Worship, Ezeobi Ngozi Anidi (Mrs), presiding Magistrate of an Agbogugu Magistrates Court which allegedly ordered a remand of one F. C. Okeke Esq, counsel for the accused person, MARY BASSEY GODWIN, writes in defence of the Magistrate. Insists, counsel for the accused person was not detained.
THE TRUE FACTS OF THE FABRICATED ORDER TO ARREST A LAWYER PURPORTEDLY ISSUED BY AN ENUGU MAGISTRATE CIRCULATING (IN) THE SOCIAL MEDIA
The complainant who claimed to be an only child of her parents, told the court on giving evidence that her father made her promise not to forfiet (sic) her father’s name in order to secure the family name.
Upon the death of her father, her mother married a woman into the family to bear children. The accused is said to be the produce of the said marriage.
Upon hearing, the complainant told the court she received a call from Lagos that her step-brother had demolished the house she built and has demolished her father’s house. She rushed down to the east and saw it was true. She went to the police station and made a formal complaint and the matter was brought to court.
Upon the commencement of proceedings, the complainant prayed the court that she was stranded and had no place to sleep each time she came to the village praying the court to allow her have a room in her father’s house pending the determination of the suit that her brother would not allow her into her father’s house any more.
The court gave a ruling ordering the brother to open a room for the sister pending the determination of the suit.
The court’s ruling was based on the Supreme Court case of Ukeje v Ukeje, the judgement of Honourable Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour (which now grants women from the Eastern part of Nigeria a right to inheritance).
The accused’s counsel appealed the ruling to the High Court Agwu, Enugu State. The High court upheld the judgement of the lower court and sent the case back to the magistrate court.
The magistrate then gave an order for the accused to make a room available to the complainant. In December 2020, the matter came up again before the magistrate. The court was informed that the accused had not carried out the order of court.
The magistrate again instructed the accused to carry out the order of the court or face a contempt charge. Yet again, the Accused did not carry out the order of the court. The accused told the court he would not give up a room for his sister. The court then ordered for the arrest of the accused who was in contempt of court for disobeying the order of court.
The accused was remanded in prison custody. At the next adjourned date, the complainant informed the court that the accused was not in prison custody and had been going about town bragging that his money is speaking and remains untouchable.
The court issued a warrant of arrest repeatedly and was told by both counsel and the prosecutor that they were unable to locate the accused. The complainant at the following hearing informed the court that the Accused was in the village.
On the 16th of March the matter came up .The court yet again asked if the accused has been seen, the counsel for the accused said no. The court yet again asked the counsel for the accused if he was aware that the accused is at large. Counsel for the accused, after a short silence told the court that the accused was sick.
After this revelation, the court addressed the other lawyers in court who immediately rebuked the counsel for the accuses (sic) and asked him to apologise to the court. Counsel for the accused pleaded with the court and undertook that by the next adjourned date, he will work with the police to produce the accused. The magistrate then issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the accused.
After that hearing, the spurious and fabricated document emerged on social media in an attempt to intimidate the court.
Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhammad Aliyu and the officiating DPO, Mr. John Igele, have both confirmed that the order to arrest a lawyer circulating on social media is a fabrication. It never existed nor was any lawyer arrested.
Mary Bassey Godwin, Esq.