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Unlawful Detention: Publisher drags Okorocha’s Chief of Staff, Others To Appeal Court

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The Publisher of the Community Watchdog Newspaper, Comrade Precious Nwadike has filed an Appeal in the Appeal Court of Nigeria Holden in Owerri Division against a recent ruling by an Owerri High Court presided over by Justice T.E Chukwuemeka Chikeka over a matter involving the appellant and seven others, all agents of the government.

In the notice of appeal filed by the appellant counsel, Ngozi Olehi Esq, the appellant expressed dissatisfaction with the High Court of Imo state sitting in Owerri in suit No HOW/41/2016 and contained in the interlocutory decision of the Honourable Judge dated 28th day of 2017 “doth hereby appeal to the court of Appeal upon the ground set out in paragraph 3 and will at hearing of the appeal seek relief set out in paragraph and further states that the names and addresses of the persons directly affected by the appeal are those set out in paragraph of the appeal”.

The grounds of appeal stipulates that the learned trial court erred in law when it held that the originating summons served on 2nd and 3rddefendants, Chief Uche Nwosu , Chief of Staff to the Governor and Mr. Hamilton Onuchukwu, had expired by the time the said processes were served on them. The appellant filed the originating summons seeking interpretation of some provisions of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended) and the suit was against seven persons and the other defendants were served within the prescribed period of service of the originating summons but two denied service within time and fresh services were effected on them.

The appeal stated that the 2nd defendant, Uche Nwosu is at all times material to this appeal deposing that the said Uche Nwosu who is the Chief of Staff to the governor of Imo state was Chairman of the bailout fund committee as appointed by the governor and that Hamilton Onuchukwu was working for Uche Nwosu.

The appellant argued that it is the questionable transaction relating to the bailout fund that gave rise to the suit at the court below seeking interpretation of the trial High Court of the constitutional role of the appellant as a journalist in reporting questionable deals concerning the said bailout fund.

The appellant upholds that both Uche Nwosu and Hamilton Onuchukwu being appointees of government should not hide under technicality to evade their duty to be accountable to the people whose fund, money in question is. He also argued that the public has interest on the publication on the bailout fund and accordingly the appellant has duty to report any truth connected there with.

The appellant sought relief from the court of Appeal to allow the Appeal and set aside the interlocutory decision of the trial court in suit No HOW/41/ 2016 of 28 September 2016 and as well the Appeal court exercises its general powers under section 15 of the Court of Appeal Act 2004 to entertain the subsection case or in the alternative remitting the case to another trial court of the High Court of Imo state.

Respondent in the originating suit and Appeal include Attorney General of Imo state, Uche Nwosu the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Hamilton Onuchukwu and Police corporal Onyeka and DSP Chris Madu. Others are the Commissioner of Police, Imo state Command, Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission (PSC).

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