Court orders arrest of 8 members of Peoples Club
By Sunny A. David, Onitsha
An Ogidi Magistrate Court presided over by Magistrate O. M. Kanu has issued a bench warrant for arrest of eight members of the Peoples Club of Nigeria, for failing to appear before it and answer to charges preferred against them.
The eight persons were being accused of stealing over N8million, belonging to the club.
The petitioner, Chief John Onwuazor of the Peoples club of Nigeria, Onitsha brought the accused persons to court, as according to their originating summons, the offence is punishable under section 353, sub section 12, of the criminal code of Anambra State, 1991, as amended.
Magistrate Kanu described the act of not appearing before the court as disrespectful in the eyes of the law, and a contempt of court.
He stressed that excuses cannot be made for the accused, in their absence.
Counsel to the petitioner, Chief J. N. Okongwu, who quoted relevant sections of the administration of criminal justice law 2010, said that the defendants are under obligation to submit themselves before the Court.
He emphasized that nobody is above the law, except the President, Vice President, Governors and their Deputies who have immunity.
Chief Okongwu who is the Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, Anaocha Branch, applauded the Magistrate for the ruling and said that there must be respect for the rule of law and not the use of force.
Counsel to the seventh and eighth Defendants, Chidiebere Ezem earlier asked the magistrate to excuse the defendants’ absence, citing an earlier written letter requesting that the case be transferred.
He also relied on an application, which according to him should serve as a stay, pending the outcome, describing the authority of the court as sacrosanct.
Speaking to newsmen, the President of Peoples Club International, Chief Joe Ilonze said that up to the moment, there is no record that the money has been returned to their account.
He pointed out that their action is to get the court to act within its powers to make them pay the money.
The Chairman of Peoples Club, Onitsha Branch, Chief John Onwuazor who is the complainant lamented that the action has left the Club’s workers salary unpaid for more than five months. The case was adjourned to November 29, 2018 for hearing.