–         As Lawyer Demands Apology, #5b From Eze Okeke, Other Monarchs

A High Court sitting in Owerri presided over by Hon. Justice K.K. Ojiako has declared that Imo House of Assembly is not competent to handle criminal and or land matters and that as elected officers, they are not to be seen as members of staff of the State Assembly as it affects the issue of protection of public officers.

Delivering judgment on Wednesday, March, 20, 2024 in his Court in Owerri, Hon. Justice Ojiako stated that the House of Assembly does not have such powers on criminal and or land matters citing various sections of the constitution and the state laws.

It would be recalled that Eze Peter Njemanze of Amawom Autonomous Community had sometime in December, 3, 2021 forwarded a petition to the Speaker of Imo state House of Assembly with allegations of conspiracy/intimidation, stealing, malicious damage of property, desecration of Prince Njemanze Royal stool and illegal eviction/forceful entry into palace against Prince Bob Njemanze, an elder statesman alongside others.

It was on that premise that the House set up a five man Adhoc Committee on the petition written by Eze Peter Njemanze for investigation and to report back to the general house.

Following the decisions of the House that resulted from the recommendations of the committee, Prince Bob Njemanze had through his lawyer, E.C Ekechukwu Esq proceeded to the high court, Owerri to seek reliefs from the House of Assembly among which include a declaration by the High Court that the investigation report and resolution No 6 of 5th July, 2022 by the Imo House of Assembly (9th House, fourth session) on the petition by HRH, Eze Peter Ezechikere Njemanze against his client, Bob Njemanze (plaintiff) and others without hearing the plaintiff’s side of the case on the said petition which amounts to a violation of the his right to fair hearing as enshrined in section 36(1) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999.A declaration that the investigation, report and resolution no. 6 of 5th July, 2022 by the Imo State House of Assembly (9th House, Fourth Session)  on allegation of crime by HRM, Eze Peter Ezechikere Njemanze against his client, Bob Njemanze amounts to usurpation of the powers of the judiciary as enshrined in section 6(6) of the 1999 constitution. A consequential order of this Honourable Court setting aside the investigation report and resolution No. 6 of 5th July, 2022 by the Imo State House of Assembly (9th House, Fourth Session) for being unconstitutional, unjustified, null, void and of no effect and also the sum of One Hundred Million (N100,000,000) Naira being damages for the violation by the Imo State House of Assembly of the plaintiff’s fundamental rights as enshrined in sections 36(1) and 6(6) of the 1999 constitution.

The Judge however did not grant the One hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000) relief for damages as sought by the plaintiff on the grounds that there was no writ of summons.

In another development, Prince Bob Njemanze through his lawyer, K.C.O Njemanze SAN has demanded from Eze Dr.E.C. Okeke, Chairman, Imo state council of Traditional Rulers and other traditional rulers, a formal full and complete withdrawal and a retraction of the publication made in Imo based Newspaper coupled with the issuance of an unreserved apology to be published on the  front page of the same newspaper and of prominent location in two National newspaper within seven (7) days from the date of the letter and also to pay the sum of Five Billion Naira (N5B) as compensation for the damage done to his client’s reputation and failing which would attract legal proceedings against them.

It should be recalled that Eze. E.C. Okeke the Chairman of Imo State Traditional Ruler and other traditional rulers who are chairmen of the zonal and local government councils had on 15th of March, 2024 made a publication on the newspaper and subsequently a radio announcement declaring among others that they have ostracized Prince Bob Njemanze.