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Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership in shambles in Cross River State

The leadership tussle of one of the most revered indigenous groups in Nigeria, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has taken a downturn in Cross River State as a High Court sitting in Calabar, on Monday adjourned the hearing of a matter between warring parties in a tussle over the leadership of the group.

THE PARADISE NEWS gathered that the matter with charge NO: HC/82C/2022, between the Inspector General Of Police (IGP), respondent and Ugoji Nwabueze Esq., defendant, which came in before Justice Bassey Ebuta was later adjourned to February 24, 2022.

In a motion on notice brought before the court, counsel to the defendant (Nwabueze), Prof. Jacob Dada Esq., stated that hearing of the matter could have amounted to an abuse of the court process.

Recall, Nwabueze (defendant) in the case was dragged to court by the IGP for parading himself and impersonating to be the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Cross River State, based on a petition written by a section of some Igbo leaders and allegedly sponsored by some members from a faction of the same group.

Findings revealed that Nwabueze, who was a Vice President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Cross River State, assumed the position of President General after the demise of his predecessor which was in tandem with their constitution.

However, that months, some of his kinsmen wanted him to step aside, alluding that he was no longer suitable for the position.

Furthermore, his refusal to step aside got the faction infuriated and they headed to court in a bid to totally stop Nwabueze and ensure he no longer presents, addresses himself as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Cross River State.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the matter was heard at the State High Court premises at Mary Slessor Avenue Calabar, Dada said due process was not followed in the attempt to arraign his client.

“There are things which should have been done before the defendant is arraigned, those things which should have been done were not done accordingly.

“Significantly, for instance, a notice of trial ought to have been prepared or issued. It has not been prepared, let alone issued on the defendant”, Dada stated.

Dada who further explained why the matter could not be heard said, “There is no way the defendant who is not aware of where he will be arraigned, will make himself available, for arraignment.

“The law is that anybody accused of infractions should be given fair hearing amongst others. You cannot say he was allowed to be heard when the venue of the hearing was not known to him”, Dada maintained.

However, Prosecuting Counsel, Barr. Alex Ewa declined to make any comment when he was asked to give insight into the matter.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo is an apex Igbo socio-cultural group in Nigeria and represents all Igbo communities both within and on the diaspora.