Court holds Imuse, Azebamwan, Issa-Onilu for contempt, orders substituted service

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A Benin High Court has held Col. David Imuse; Publicity Secretary of the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Chris Azebamwan and the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, for contempt of court and ordered for substituted service of the charges.

The order was given in the case involving Anselm Ojezua Esq; Deputy Chairman, APC, Edo State, Kenneth Asekhomhe; State Organising Secretary, APC, Edo State, Dr. Aisosa Amadasun as claimants/applicants and Col. David Imuse (Rtd); Lawrence Okah, for himself on behalf of the members of the purported State Working Committee of the APC, Edo State, who purportedly suspended/removed the 1st plaintiff as the chairman of the Edo State chapter of the party and Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu for himself and on behalf of the National Working Committee of the APC as defendants.

The claimants had sought for “an order directing that service of the form 48 and all other subsequent processes in relation to the contempt proceeding (s) be effect on the 1st , 2nd and 3rd parties sought to be committed for committing contempt of court by substituted means i.e by publishing same as they become due in one edition of the Vanguard Newspapers or The Nation Newspapers. And for such other or further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance of this case.”

In the ruling, Hon. Justice V. O. A. Oviawe said, “I have carefully considered this application. I take cognizance of the representation by counsel to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd parties that they are willing to accept service of the said form 48 on behalf of the stated parties, here in Court and duly ordered.

“I am however of the view that by virtue of the nature of the processes sought to be served, which the law provides must be served personally but which by virtue of the facts deposed to that the parties are evading service, I am left with no other option than to, properly, grant the order as prayed. The acceptance of the service by counsel in the record in my view cannot suffice.

“Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that service of Form 48 and all other subsequent processes in relation to the contempt proceedings be effected on the 1st , 2nd  and 3rd parties sought to be committed for committing contempt of court by substituted service i.e by publishing same as they become due in one edition of the Vanguard or The Nation Newspapers.”