The absence of a State High Court in Ogbaru, Anambra on Thursday stalled the trial of the Attorney-General, Prof. Sylvia Ifemejeol, over alleged disobedience of the state’s High Court order.
Others involved in the trial are the state’s Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr Obinna Ngonadi; the President-General, Anambra State Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATA), Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu; and the Incorporated Trustees and executive members of the Electronic Dealers Association Onitsha (EDAO).
The court staff informed the litigants and their counsel that the judge, Justice Alexious Okuma, was not going to sit.
Although no reason was given for the judge’s absence, the court clerks subsequently fixed November 8 for a hearing.
A motion ex-parte filed by Christgonus Obi on July 5, prayed the court not to allow the respondents — Attorney-General of the state, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry and others — to constitute the caretakers’ committee in EDAO, and they went ahead to constitute the committee.
The court, however, ordered parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the suit.
The State High Court, presided by Justice Okuma, issued form 48 to the defendants, which read, “Take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in this order, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”
On July 29, the commissioner for commerce and industry inaugurated an 11-man caretaker committee for the market.
The counsel to the applicant, Chief Ugo Ugwunadi, on August 11, applied for their committal to prison for disobeying a court order, after the court had issued form 48.