An Abuja High Court presided by Hon. Justice E. Okpe has restrained the judicial Panel of inquiry on Recovery of Government Properties and Funds set up by Governor Alex Otti of Abia State from harassing former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and others who served during his administration.
According to the order which was given as interim injunction on Friday 28th July 2023, the panel and other respondents are restrained “jointly and severally, whether by themselves or. acting through any Committee, Department, Agency, Office(s), men, operatives, agents or any person or group of persons, howsoever named or described, from inviting, summoning, interrogating, harassing, intimidating, arresting, detaining, seizing any property belonging to the Applicants or otherwise dealing adversely in any manner with the Applicants, their children, any member of their families or any other person connected to the Applicants insofar as it relates to the Applicants’ tenure as public officers in Abia State”
The order which was granted sequel to originating motion by SIR GABRIEL ONYENDILEFU, DR. OKEZIE VICTOR IKPEAZU, ERONDU UCHENNA ERONDU (JNR) and RT. HON. PRINCE C.O. ENWEREMÁDU canvassed by C.C. Enuka, Esq in respect of FCT/HC/CV/6989 /2023 also directed that the respondents be served through substituted means, to wit: by serving same on any officer or other responsible person at the address of the Respondent at Abia State Liaison Office, Abia House, Plot 979, First Avenue off Ahmadu Bello Way, Central Business District, Abuja.
It will be recalled that Governor Alex Otti inaugurated a 5-man judicial panel of inquiry led by retired Justice Ikwuoma Duruoha-Igwe to “ensure the recovery of government funds and property that had been taken away from May 29th 2015 to May 29th 2023”. But many critics within and outside the state saw the panel as a witch-hunt attempt against Dr Okezie Ikpeazu who defeated him (Otti) twice in 2015 and 2019 gubernatorial elections.
According to an Umuahia-based public affairs analyst, Chief Uche Aguoru, who called for the extension of the terms of reference of the panel to include other administrations in the state, “it was predictable that Governor Otti will attempt to witch-hunt his predecessor in office given the bad blood existing between them.
“As painful as the defeat of 2015 is, the scars of the defeat should have been healed by the victory of 2023. I hope Governor Alex Otti realizes this and expands the ToR of the probe panel to start from 1999, because Abia was not created in 2015”, he told journalists in Umuahia recently.
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