Anambra: You Are Risking Jail Term Over Contempt – Judge warns Defendants, Others

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By Julie Sylvia, Onitsha

An Otuocha High court sitting in Onitsha, Anambra State, and Presided over by Hon. Justice Tagbo Anieto, has warned defendants and others that he would jail anybody that disobeyed court order.

He sounded the note of warning when the plaintiffs through their counsel, told the court that the defendants that included a surveyor, Remy Uchenna Anyadike, Christopher Nweke, Michael Onwosi, Nweke Nwafor, Nnaemeka Agbankpu, Obi Ndife, Sunday Nwogbo and Uchenna Uyaemesi, disobeyed the court order by not allowing the plaintiffs’to survey the lands in dispute.

Recall that the court had in the suit No. OT/145/2023, made the order on 20th day of October, 2023, which prompted the plaintiffs to serve the defendants with form 48, to show cause why they should not be jailed.

The plaintiffs included, Chinweze Egwuatu , Ebere Ogboo, Chukwunonso Udoba, Emeka Nwabuisi and Amechi Ndua, for themselves and on behalf of Obiogbo-Agwa Ifite Nteje, Oyi Local Government Area.

The court made the order granting the plaintiffs/applicants leave after hearing the submissions of Barr. J.A.C. Onuoha, (counsel to plaintiffs), to enter the land in dispute known as Okah/Okpokolo/Onuocha and Aguocha parcels of land, situated at Obiogbo Agwa village, Ifite Nteje, for purposes of surveying it in order to show the exact areas of the lands in dispute and present characters and features of the said lands.

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The plaintiffs in the form 48, claimed that the defendants did not obey the court order as they refused the plaintiffs from entering the disputed land for purposes of surveying to show the exact areas of lands in dispute.

In the affidavit of facts presented by the first plaintiff, Chinweze Egwuatu, he said, “On Monday, the 27th day of November, 2023, the plaintiffs/applicants’ surveyor, went to survey the land in dispute and the defendants/respondents called upon their agents who are the third to eight contemnors and they beat up the surveyor and his workers and destroyed their tools.

“The defendants prevented the plaintiffs’ surveyor from carrying out his assignment as ordered by this honourable court. A photograph of the incident was taken by a digital phone and is hereby annexed and marked Exhibit A.”

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When the case came up for hearing,
Barr Victor Ikeme, who appeared for the plaintiffs and also held brief for Doctor Joe Onuora, said outside the court hall that, “In today’s proceedings, the judge restrained the parties from going into the land, doing anything in the land, until the final determination of the substantive suit.

“Further more, the court said that the surveyor should now go and survey the land, and the plaintiffs’surveyor counsel should also let the defendants’ counsel know on the date when they will carry out this exercise so that there will not be disturbance again,”

Also, Arinze Charles Arinze, from the law firm of Ihezugo SAN & Co, stated, “We represent 2nd defendant, the court after hearing from both parties said that it will be in the interest of Justice for both parties, plaintiffs and defendants to restrain from going into the land.

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“The court also said that in the event that the plaintiffs’ survey wants to survey the land which they are entitled to, based on the order of the court, they should communicate us, (defendants), so that we should know and be around to make sure that survey is only done at the disputed lands because our position is that the plaintiffs are hiding under disguise that they want to survey the land and they are going beyond the court order.

“All parties should be communicated when the surveying is to take place, to make sure it is properly done, so if any of the parties is found on the land, they are on contempt of court,” he State.

The court adjourned the case to 17 January, 2024, for continuation of hearing.

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