The Nigerian Bar Association, Owerri has condemned in it’s entirety the action of the Imo State Government and it’s agents in the arrest and detention of Chima Emeka Ndukwe , Akoma Jeremiah, Ikedi Amadi and Nze Moses who are senior staff of the National Industrial Court, Owerri, who were arrested and taken to an undisclosed location at about 14:30hrs on Friday while on an official duty.
This was contained in a press statement signed by Chinedu Agu as Secretary and made available to Newsmen in Owerri today.
According to the release , “these Staff were arrested by the legion of Policemen and savage thugs led by a Personal Assistant to the Imo State Governor, Chinasa Nwaneri, to unseal Zenith Bank Plc, having obtained an Order from Owerri High Court (Court of coordinate jurisdiction) same day.
“The Bar further gathers that upon an order of the National Industrial Court, Owerri, on Thursday the 2nd day of June, 2022, Zenith Bank Plc was sealed for refusal to obey the judgment of the National Industrial Court, Owerri, where-in the court ordered the Bank to pay the Judgment Creditor, Prince Eze Madumere, the sum of ₦1.9 Billion Naira, being money owed him by Imo State Government
“Rather than challenge same judgment in the Court of Appeal, the Imo State Government, in a desperate hurry, obtained a Court Order from a High Court sitting in Owerri (a court of coordinate jurisdiction) restraining Zenith Bank Plc from obeying the Judgment of the National Industrial Court, Owerri. In a manner most brutish and saddeningly reminiscent of the Stone Age, the said Mr. Nwaneri, armed with the Order of the High Court, led a legion of heavily armed policemen and fierce-looking thugs to unseal the Bank, and in the process brutalized and arrested the said Court Officials, who while on official duty, stopped by the Bank to inquire the reason for the heavy presence of security men and thugs in a Bank sealed by a subsisting Order of their court”
Speaking further, NBA therefore called on the State Government to cause the immediate and unconditional release of the detained staff of the Court and their official vehicle before 12:00hrs today Saturday the 4th day of June, 2022.
NBA Owerri appealed to the President of the National Industrial Court to reconsider the order of temporary closure of National Industrial Court, Owerri stressing that the action will further afflict the practice of their profession already beset by the heightening spate of insecurity in the state and as well inhibit access to justice by innocent litigants in the state.
Recall that the former Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere had earlier secured a Garnishee Order from the National Industrial Court, Owerri mandating the state government and Zenith Bank to pay him all his entitlements to the tune of #1.9bn.The government later applied to set aside the judgement but the Court viewed the application unmerited and granted finally and absolute garnishee order, waranting the law enforcement agents drafted from Zone-9 to carry out sealing of the affected banks.