Listen to article
The President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, (NICN), Justice Benedict Kanyip, has opened on the real reasons as to why the Owerri Division of the court has remained shut for over five months.
Speaking at the special court session in Abuja to mark its 2022/2023 legal year, Justice Kanyip explained that the Owerri branch of the court was shut down to safeguard the life of both the resident judge and staff of the court in Imo state.
The Eastern Updates reports that the Owerri judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Imo State was on June 6, 2022 closed down indefinitely by the orders of the President of the court, Justice Benedict Kanyip.
The President made the declaration pursuant to sections 21(1) & (2) of the NICN Civil Procedure Rules 2017 and other enabling powers.
The closure was necessitated by the need to protect the lives of the Judge/staff and properties of the Court in view of the incessant cases of obstruction of justice, intimidation, and harassment of the Judge and staff of the Court as well as unlawful arrest and abduction of the staff of the Court by agents of the Imo State government.
Four staff of the court Nze Moses; Akoma Jeremiah; Ikedi Amadi and Chima Emeka Ndukwe were abducted while performing their lawful duty of executing the judgment on Friday, June 3, 2022, in suit no: NICN/OW/16M/2022, in suit no: NICN/OW/16M/2022, between former deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere V Governor of Imo State, Zenith Bank Plc, the Attorney General of Imo state and the Imo state government.
Acting on its decision in a garnishee order, the court sealed off branches of Zenith bank within the state capital over an alleged N1.9 billion debt owed the ex-Imo deputy governor, Prince Madumere by the state government.
Already, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has indicted a senior lawyer, Chief Louis Alozie, SAN, the state government and the state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ahmed Barde for the crisis that lead to the closure of the court.
Speaking on the issue on Wednesday, the NICN President, Justice Kanyip, said the decision was taken, “when the safety of the resident Judge and staff could no longer be guaranteed”.
He said: ‘It is unfortunate that the division is still shut down given that we are yet to receive the security guarantees that we asked for.
‘I acknowledge that all persons of goodwill in the state including the local and national Bar Association have appealed to us to have the division reopened. We are giving these appeals serious consideration. Once we agreed on the parameters for reopening the division, we will do that’.
Besides, Justice Kanyip, explained the court performed well in the last legal year, though he expressed concern that the court’s arbitration mechanisms were not being utilised.