Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri
Justice Benjamin Iheaka of the Imo State High Court in Owerri on Monday granted an application sought by counsel to the impeached Deputy Governor of Imo State, Ken Njemanze (SAN) for four out of the seven respondents whose identities and addresses were unknown to the court, to be served through the office of the chief judge of the state, Paschal Nnadi.
The four respondents were part of the seven-man panel constituted by the chief judge to investigate allegations of gross misconduct as petitioned by 13 out of the 27 members of the Imo State House of Assembly.
The panel indicted Eze Madumere, which led to his impeachment by state legislature on the same day that justice Iheaka ruled that process for the impeachment of Madumere be stalled until the determination of the suit by the court.
When it became clear that the matter could not go on, Njemanze, sought the power of the court for the four respondents whose identities and places of last addresses were “at large” to be served through the CJ’s office.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria contended that since it was the CJ who constituted the seven-man panel, it would be legally appropriate for them to be served the court processes through the same office that made them members of the panel.
Njemanze said that the court could not wait indefinitely for the respondents when they could be reached through the CJ’s office.
He contended that further delay in the process of the matter could jeopardise the wheels of justice .
Counsel to the state government, Militus Nlemaduim, who is the commissioner for justice and attorney general of the state, and the state House of Assembly were in court .
The justice who granted the application adjourned till August 20 for continuation of the matter.