Judge says his hands are tied by the law.
A Judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos, Okon Abang, on Friday refused to vacate his earlier ruling which found former candidate aspirant in Delta State, Great Ogboru, guilty of contempt for disobeying the court’s order.
Mr. Ogboru was found guilty of flouting an order given by the court last January in a suit filed by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON.
On Friday, the judge rejected pleas to reverse the order.
Mr. Abang said that an agreement between the parties in the suit to settle the dispute between them was not enough to discharge the order.
“As a person, I would have loved to set aside the order but sitting as a court, my hands are tied,” Mr. Abang said. “The court has become functus officio and thus is no longer able to discharge the order.”
The court had empowered AMCON to take possession of some property belonging to Mr. Ogboru and his firm, Fiogret Limited, for their inability to repay a N200 million loan granted them by Ecobank Plc.
Mr. Ogboru and others were accused of violating the order by breaking into the property located at Ijora Causeway and Norman Williams Street, Ikoyi. Though they were found guilty of contempt, the court said that it could not issue a bench warrant for Mr. Ogboru’s arrest because AMCON failed to comply with the provisions of the law in commencing the contempt proceedings.
On Friday, Nelson Imoh, counsel to AMCON, urged the judge to set aside the order since parties had agreed to reconcile.
Their terms of agreement states, among others, that parties must withdraw all pending suits including AMCON’s fresh contempt suit and desist from filling further suits.
Mr. Abang did not only refuse to revoke his ruling, he directed Mr. Ogboru to proceed to the appellate court as an option.
“It is my humble view that it is only the Court of Appeal that can vacate the said findings,” said Mr. Abang. “I have no jurisdiction to vacate the findings of the court. It is the function of the Court of Appeal to do so.”