Udom Dares Court …Over Village Head Tussle

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The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel in a flagrant disregard to Court decisions, has dared the State High Court and refused to present before it, a certificate of recognition issued to one Obong Edet Okon Akpan as village head of Ikot Ekpene, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.
It would be recalled that an Akwa Ibom State High Court, Ikot Ekpene Judicial Division had on March 19, 2018 ordered that the Akwa Ibom State Governor, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, the Ikot Ekpene Traditional Rulers Council and one Obong Edet Okon Akpan to produce before the court, Certificate of Recognition issued to Obong Edet Okon Akpan as village head of Ikot Ekpene, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, pending the determination of the suit before it.
The Court presided over by Justice Joy Unwana, gave the order in a ruling on Suit No HU/278/2017.
The Court which frowned at the action of the State Government in issuing the said certificate when there is a pending case of the rightful village head before it, noted that the Defendants in the case cannot foist a “fait accompli” upon it as such is highly “contemptuous”.
The Sensor Judiciary Desk gathered that the Claimant to the Traditional Stool, one Obong Daniel Okon Udo was selected by the family heads to be the village head, an action that the Ikot Ekpene Traditional Council and Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, acknowledged.
It was further gathered that some people at the corridors of power intervened and caused the State Government to hastily announced Obong Edet Okon Akpan who was not selected through due process as the village head. This, it was gathered prompted the claimant to approach the court which the court granted his prayers.
However, the State Government defiled the interlocutory injunction ordered by the court and went ahead to issue certificate of Recognition to the Defendant. The action that the court said is “highly contemptuous,” of the 5th Defendant (Governor of Akwa Ibom State), and ordered that the said certificate be produced on the adjourned date, that is April 12, 2018.
However, in a twist of it, the Defendants yesterday failed to produce the said certificate of recognition before the Court. The 1st Defendant (Obong Edet Okon Akpan) rather, brought in a new counsel who applied to the court for leave to appeal the earlier order for the Defendants to produce the Certificate of Recognition.
The State Attorney General, who is counsel to 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants, appealed to Court to view issuance of Certificate of Recognition to the 1st Defendant as not being contemptuous.
The Court in its ruling, dismissed the stay of proceeding and application for leave to appeal the earlier order that the Defendants should produce the Certificate of Recognition before the court. The court insisted that the said certificate has to be produced before it on the next adjourned date.
Counsel to the Claimant, Obong Matthew Akpan commended the Court for maintaining its position and striking out the applications in the interest of justice.
Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned till May 15, 2018 for continuation.
It would be recalled that several of such cases in which government unduly Middle into the village head tussle abounds in the State. A typical case is that of Utu Ikot Ekpenyong where the village head stool is still a serious divisive tool in the hands of the contenders, causing serious disharmony and stiffing peace and development in the community.

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