By Mike Ubani
An Enugu-based legal practitioner, Afam Joseph, has urged the National Judicial Council (NJC), to ask the Chief Judge of Enugu state, Justice Ngozi Emehelu, to explain why she ordered the suspension of the execution of a valid judgment he obtained from an Enugu High Court No. 8.
In a letter to the Chairman, NJC, dated July 25, 2020, a copy obtained by The AUTHORITY, Barrister Joseph informed the NJC that on March 26, 2019, an Enugu High Court presided over by Justice Comfort Chinyere Ani, delivered a judgment in suit No. E/780/2018, that favoured his client, Mr. Ambrose C. Obodoeze.
According to Barrister Joseph, plaintiff/applicant in the case, the court ordered the respondents – Ernest Anayo Ozoekwo, Ernest Ngozi Ozoekwo (couple) and Jude Ikpe Ozoemena, to pay his client the sum of N4,250,000.000 (Four million, two hundred and fifty thousand Naira), being the balance of the sum of N4,750.000.00(Four million, seven hundred and fifty thousand Naira) paid by Obodoeze to Ozoemena, for a business transaction that went awry.
The AUTHORITY learnt that Ernest and Ngozi (his wife) introduced Ozoemena to Obodoeze, as a serving army officer and car dealer, and thereafter, persuaded him (Obodoeze) to order for the supply of two Sienna buses, one Lexus Rx 330 car, and one High Lander car from Ozoemena at a the sum of N4,750.000.00 (Four million, seven hundred and fifty thousand Naira).
Though Obodoeze placed the order as well as paid the specified amount, Ozoemena neither supplied the vehicles nor fully repaid the money, prompting Obodoeze through his counsel, to seek redress at the court.
He (Ozoemena) was said to have refunded only N500.000.00 (Five hundred thousand Naira), but failed to say how and when he would pay the balance of N4.250.000.00 (Four million, two hundred and fifty thousand Naira).
Justice Ani ruled that since Ernest and his wife Ngozi introduced Ozoemena to Obodoeze, the trio “are hereby ordered to pay the applicant jointly and severally the sum of N4, 250.000.00 (Four million, two hundred and fifty thousand Naira).
Barrister Joseph informed the NJC that the Enugu CJ through the Deputy Director/Sheriff, High Court of Enugu state, Mrs. L. N. Eze, suspended the execution of the court judgment slated for January 31, 2020, even when there was no existing order of court for stay of execution of the judgment.
“…Mrs. Eze claimed that the suspension was directed by Hon. Chief Judge of Enugu state Hon. Justice Ngozi Emehelu, even without seeing the file of the case to confirm whether or not there was encumbrance to such execution,” said Barrister Joseph.
He said that the Chief Judge had failed to respond to two of his letters requesting her to “remedy this situation.”
Barrister Joseph appealed to the NJC to investigate the circumstances surrounding the suspension of a valid court order, with a view to righting the injustice meted out against him and his client.