An Owerri High Court has sentenced the founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Ralph Uwazuruike, to one month in prison for disobeying the order of the court to appear in a case in which he is a plaintiff.
The presiding judge, Justice Kemakolam Ojiako made the order in the civil case, HOW/265/2013, between Uwazuruike (plaintiff) and Barr. Chigozie Iheama and others over a land dispute, New Telegraph Online reports.
Ruling on the motion on notice filed on July 6, 2017, by C.K. Okorie, counsel to the defendant, praying the court to commit the plaintiff/contemnor to prison for disobeying the order of the court, Ojiako held that:
“The plaintiff, Chief Raphael Uwazuruike, is hereby found guilty of contempt/disobedience to the said order of court made on April 2, 2017.
“That the plaintiff, Chief Raphael Uwazuruike, is hereby committed/sentenced to prison custody and shall be so detained for a period of one month from the date of his commitment to prison.”
Ojiako also restrained Uwazuruike, his agents, privies or servants from entering into the said land pending the determination of the action.
The judge adjourned proceedings to July 10, 2018.
But the counsel to the MASSOB/BIM leader, Emmanuel Chukwuka, said that they had earlier appealed the contempt proceedings at the Appeal Court, which was slated for hearing on October 2, 2019, but the judge has continued with the contempt proceedings.
“The ruling of the court has been appealed at the Court of Appeal but Justice Ojiako insists he will continue with the matter, rather than stay proceedings in the matter, as is the normal practice,” he said.