The Chairman of the Imo state Local Government Service Commission, Mr. Jude Ejiogu and the Accountant General of the state, Mr. George Eche, after arguments by their team of lawyers led by Louis Alozie, Esq., has in two separate rulings in the High Court of Imo state, obtained an Ex-Parte order restraining the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar from arresting them or continuing with investigations into the management of local government fund in the state pending the determination of the substantive suit.
This followed a letter dated 16th October, 2012, from the office of the IGP, signed by ACP Bala Ciroma inviting Prof. Gozie Anwukah, Secretary to the Imo State Government; Mrs. Lilian Asuzu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Mr. Chike Okafor, Commissioner for Finance; Chief Gerry Okolie, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Mr. George Eche, Accountant General of Imo state and Mr. Jude Ejiogu, Chairman, Local Government Service Commission to appear before the Inspector General of Police to answer questions concerning the administration of local government funds in the state.
In his affidavit in support of his originating summon, Ejiogu noted that the police were investigating an allegation of ‘conspiracy, diversion, misappropriation of public funds, abuse of procedure in local government statutory allocation’ of which he had explained to the police that he knew nothing about local government allocation and disbursement as they are outside his job schedule.
Adding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was already investigating a case of misappropriation of local government allocation and sundry matters in the state and did not invite him.
According to Ejiogu, on November 14, 2012, ACP Bala Ciroma of the IGP Monitoring Unit, Abuja ‘called me to inform me that he has a warrant for my arrest and will come into Owerri any time to effect the arrest.’
Following the incessant harassment of arrest and detention, Ejiogu and the five other top functionaries of the Imo state government proceeded to court to seek protection of their fundamental human rights.
Jude Ejiogu obtained the restraining order through suit No. HOW/753/2012 by Justice N.B. Ukoha while George Eche obtained his through suit No. HOW/755/2012 by Justice Ngozi Opara.
Hearings on the substantive suits were adjourned to 28January, 2013.
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