Residents within the vicinity of the Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, were taken by surprise when hundreds of chiefs, elders and youths from Okirika Local Government Area of the state stormed the court premises in solidarity with the Amayanabo of Okochiri kingdom, King Ateke Tom who instituted a defamatory case in the court against eight chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State.
Chief Dere Biemegbo Oforome, who led the peaceful protest march, told The AUTHORITY that they were in court to register their grievance over what they described as sacrilege against the traditional stool of Okirika Kingdom.
Earlier, Justice Constance Dauye Green of the State High Court in Port Harcourt, had ordered a substituted service on the eight chieftains of the All Progressives Congress over defamation suit filed by King Ateke Tom.
The defendants in the suit are, Hon. Asita O. Asita, Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC in the 2015 election, Dr. Davies Ikanya, the Chairman of APC in the state, Dumo Lulu Briggs, Sampson Ngerigbara.
Other defendants in the suit include, Prince Tonye Princewill, Sekonte Davies, Emeka Beke, secretary of the APC in the state and Lawrence Chuku
Recalled that the Amanyanabo of Okochiri, King Ateke Tom, had filed a N1 billion suit against the APC chieftains in suit number PHC/345/2018, following a pro-SARS rally organised in Port Harcourt by the APC in which Ateke’s picture was printed in a banner and allegedly described him (Ateke) as a criminal made a king by the state government.
When the matter came up in court on Thursday, the trial Judge, Justice Constance Dauye Green, made the order after the counsel for the plaintiff, Granville Abibo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), informed the court that the defendants have been evading service from court bailiff.
Abibo asked the court to grant them substituted service on the defendants.
Justice Green in her ruling granted the request of the plaintiff and thereafter adjourned the matter till May 9, for pre-trial conference.
Our correspondent reported that no counsel represented the chieftains of APC in court.
In a chat with The Authority outside the courtroom, counsel to King Ateke Tom, Granville Abibo narrated that they applied for substituted service, after it was noticed that the defendants were evading service of court proceedings from the court bailiff.