By Eze Amaechi, Owerri
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News Hour.com.ng – The traditional ruler of Nnemere Mpam autonomous community in Ahiazu LGA of Imo state, HRH Eze Remigius I.K Ihejiene, may have gotten himself into trouble over an alleged willful disobedience to a court order restraining him from conducting a planned town union election slated for January 9, 2024, which, by the constitution of the community and Imo state traditional and autonomous communities laws, he has no power to conduct.
In suit number MHO/ MISC. 3 M/ 2024 filed at the Ikeduru Magisterial District Holden at Iho, the respondents, Chima Ibe(President General of Nnemere Mpam autonomous community) and others had, through their counsel, Barr. Teddy Obi Akwari, after being briefed on January 2, filed a motion which was heard on Monday, February 6, requesting the court to make an order restraining the traditional ruler and his agents from conducting their planned town union election.
The court granted the request of the respondents and an order restraining the traditional ruler and his agents from conducting their planned town union election was issued on January 5,2024 and the bailiff duly served the traditional ruler as early as 7 am on January 9, yet the monarch, HRH Eze Remigius Ihejiene, in alleged disregard to the court order, went ahead and conducted the town union election that day, also allegedly boasting that as the king of his community no court had any authority to tell him how to run his community.
After this violation of order of the court, the traditional ruler, through his counsel, Barr. O. C. Nwaogwugwu, filed a motion on notice asking the court to decline jurisdiction on the matter, arguing that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.
Again the traditional ruler, through his counsel, in their argument claimed the election had already taken place before the bailiff had served the traditional ruler and his agents the restraining order of court, making the counsel to the respondents, Barr. Akwari to wonder if the election had been held by 5 am.
Barr. Akwari also argued that the issue in hand before the court was that of disobedience to a court order which, in law, takes preeminence over jurisdiction.
The Chief Magistrate, C.J. Nkwoada, irked by the allegation that the traditional ruler had boasted that no court had the power to tell him how to rule his community, ordered that the traditional ruler HRH Eze Remigius Ihejiene must appear before him on February 27 to explain why he should not obey the court order restraining him from conducting the said town union election.
It will be recalled that the town union executive of Nnemere Mpam autonomous community led by the President General, Mr Chima Ibe was elected in August 2020 for a tenure of three years. At the expiration of the tenure, in line with the constitution of the community, the executive was given another term of three years beginning August 2023 which is still in progress before the unconstitutional election carried out by the traditional ruler on January 9.
Disobedience of a court order is a serious offence that carries dire consequences which, if proved against the traditional ruler, is set to impact upon the Nnemere Mpam autonomous community.