Contempt of court: Director of Onitsha-based pharmaceutical company faces jail term
From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Owner of New Divine Favor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, Mr. Franklin Ifeanyi Okeke, based in Onitsha, Anambra State, is likely heading to jail to serve any jail term that may be ordered by the court.
This followed contempt proceedings (Form 49) brought against him by another Onitsha-based business tycoon, Chief Mike Emerah, for disobeying three separate court orders regarding the control and management of Nwugo’s car fleet on the Upper Iweka axis in the commercial town of Onitsha. .
Judge JI Nweze, the Onitsha Judicial Division Administrative Judge, who is the trial judge of the contempt proceedings, granted Emerah’s prayer to serve the contemptuous, Franklin Ifeanyi Okeke by substitution means all process of committal proceedings including the original summons, Form 49, motion for notice, supporting affidavit, and written address to be served on the contemptuous party.
Specifically, Judge Nweze granted all the above processes to be glued to Franklin Ifeanyi Okeke’s front door at No. 48 Otigba Crescent, GRA, Onitsha, Onitsha North Local Government Area, Anambra State.
Judge Nweze who granted the order after hearing from Emerah’s legal counsel, Olisa Edeh Esq. Chamber of JO Nnadi SAN, set for 23 September 2022 as the hearing date for the remand proceedings.
Emerah, managing director of Macdon Group of Companies, had filed an ex parte motion brought pursuant to Order 8, Rules 4, Order 40, Rule 1(1) and, (2) of the High Court Rules (Civil Procedure) from Anambra State, 2019; Section 6(6)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and within the inherent jurisdiction of the court, seeking to send the contemptuous to jail for flouting court orders.
The motion was accompanied by a 13-paragraph affidavit signed by Chief Mike Emerah himself with his written address dated and filed June 23, 2022, praying for another way to serve the contemptuous, Franklin Ifeanyi Okeke with all of the aforementioned processes .
In his motion for notice, brought under Section 72 of the LFN Sheriffs and Civil Procedure Act, 2004, Ordinance 9, Rules 13 of the Judgment (Enforcement) Rules, Chief Emerah requested the court to to incarcerate the Contemptor in jail for disobeying the court order made on December 20, 2001 that the Contemptor, his co-officers of the Nwugo Branch of the Luxury Bus Owners Association of Nigeria, LUBOAN are hereby restrained from interfering in any way manner whether with Chief Mike Emerah’s right to manage the affairs of the LUBOAN National Body at Nwugo Park or interfering with Emerah’s right to collect dues due to the LUBOAN National Body, pending determination on the merits of the lawsuit or until otherwise ordered.
Also in an affidavit in support of the notice motion he swore, Chief Mike Emerah argued that despite the first order issued by Judge Paul Obidigwe on December 20, 2001; the second order issued by Judge Nweze in 2005; the third order issued by Judge Chinwe Iyizoba on December 12, 2008, emphasizing the fact that only Chief Mike Emerah is authorized to manage Nwugo Park and collect revenue on behalf of LUBOAN, the contemporary, Okeke still collects revenue from said park Nwugo, having forced his way into the park.
Emerah also submitted an order from the Inspector General of Police, IGP based on legal advice from the Legal Department of Police, Force Headquarters, Abuja and further legal advice from the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abuja and a caveat emptor published in a national daily all marked as exhibits in court to support his argument that he is the only person authorized to manage Nwugo Park.
Judges Abubakar Jega Abdul-Kadir, Ayobode Olujimi Lokulo-Sodipe and Isaiah Olufemi Akeju of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division had on Wednesday January 9, 2013 in Appeal No. CA/E/161/2005, in a unanimous judgment, struck out an appeal filed by LUBOAN against the interlocutory injunction order made on December 12, 2001 by Justice Paul Obidigwe of the Anambra State High Court sitting in Onitsha and awarded a cost of 30 N000 in favor of Chief Mike Emerah against the appellant.
The Court of Appeal also dismissed as lacking merit a Federal High Court lawsuit No. FHC/EN/CS/362/2001 filed by Ugochukwu and Sons who claimed to be the owners of Nwugo Park and sought to prevent the Chief Mike Emerah to control and manage the park.
The Court of Appeal therefore prohibited the Defendants/Respondents, their agents or assigns from disturbing, harassing, preventing or in any other way from interfering with the Plaintiffs/Plaintiffs in the management of Nwugo Park, until the annulment of the order of the lower courts. .