Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Umuahia branch, has called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, to redeploy Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Jonathan Johnson, from the state for alleged disobedience to court orders.
The Umahia Branch NBA chairman, Amanze Chioma made the call at a Press briefing in Umuahia, Thursday.
He said that Jonathan’s continued stay in Abia State would breed anarchy as his “penchant” to disobey court orders would create room for a lawless society.
Chioma also presented the petition of the NBA to the IGP, urging him to call the Abia CP to order by asking him to obey court orders.
The Umuahia branch NBA chairman said that disobedience to court orders would only create anarchy and lawlessness, adding that in such a society, anybody could be a victim.
The group, in its three-page petition to the IGP dated April 6, 2010 and endorsed by the chairman, Chioma and Secretary, Chief Eze Ihekoronye, gave three instances of alleged disobedience to orders of court by the Abia Commissioner of Police.
According to the NBA, a Magistrate granted bail to one Nze Jossy Nnoduechi in Charge No. U/55C/2009 on December 15, 2009, and after the bail conditions had been perfected, he was released but the CP gave orders for his arrest shortly afterwards on the grounds that the court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the accused person bail in that matter.
The NBA also stated that in Suit No. HU/73/2010, an applicant, Sunday John, was granted bail on March 8, 2010. Rather than obey the order after being served, NBA alleged that Johnson hurriedly charged Sunday to a Magistrate Court , six days after being with the Orders of Court and the applicant was remanded at the Federal Prisons in Afara, Umuahia.
Furthermore, the group said that in Suit No.FHC/UM/M/03/2010, the presiding Judge, Justice E.A.Obile ordered the release of one Paschal C. Nwakanma. When Johnson was served with the Order, he ordered for the arrest of the counsel in that matter, Mr U.R.Ndubuka. They stated that NBA had to intervene to save him.
“Sir, these are very few glaring examples of the continued disobedience to Orders of Court by Mr Jonathan Johnson in Abia State . The unrepentant and ever growing addiction to disregard court orders by the Commissioner of Police is a daunting challenge to the administration of justice and shameful confrontation to the Rule of Law,” part of the petition read.
The NBA wrote further: “Sir, while we may approve of calls by the public to prosecute Mr Jonathan Johnson over several disobedience to Court Orders, it is imperative to advise him to desist from his unconscionable policy of detaining persons whose freedom has been declared by the court of Law.
“Jonathan Johnson’s attitude is a stubborn and recurrent problem in access to justice and Rule of Law in a democratic polity and we condemn it and urge you to call him to order in the interest of justice or he may face the wrath of the law he sought to destroy by his worrisome and continued disobedience to Court Orders.”
Reacting, Johnson denied ever disobeying any Order of Court. “I, Jonathan Johnson, I have never, never disobeyed any court orders,” he said as he challenged his accusers to prove their claim.
The Police Commissioner maintained that the NBA has never served him with any court orders or brought his attention to any that has been served on him and he disobeyed same. “Has the NBA chairman ever called me to say Commissioner, you have disobeyed a court order,” he asked.
With this development, Jonathan is the third CP whose removal from Abia was being sought.The first was CP Emmanuel Ezeozue on who the state House of Assembly passed a resolution, calling on the IGP to redeploy because he could not contain the onslaught of Kidnappers.
Same for Edgar Tam Nanakumo, who succeeded Ezeozue. Nanakumo also was apparently overwhelmed by the activities of Kidnappers. Johnson succeeded Nankumo.