By Amby Uneze
The legal battle between a former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, and an Abuja-based business woman, Mrs. Chinyere Amuchienwa, took another dimension yesterday in Owerri, the state capital, as protest by a group of Imo women under the umbrella of Coalition of Civil Society Groups stopped the court from sitting over the case earlier scheduled for the day.
As early as 8 a.m., the women had assembled at the entrance of the new Imo State High Court complex in New Owerri, carrying placards with inscriptions such as ‘Ikedi Ohakim must face his criminal cases’; Ohakim, injustice to a woman is injustice to all, as well as Cletus Ilomuanya’; ‘What’s your interest, are you Ikedi Ohakim?’ among others.
The protesting women also demanded the stepping aside of the presiding Judge handling the matter, Justice I.G Chukwunyere, maintaining that they were not comfortable with her adjudicating on the case.
The leader of the women, Mrs. Mercy Agulana, while addressing journaliats, said they have come to show solidarity to their fellow woman, who they claimed her rights have been violated.
“Ohakim as a former governor has brought shame to himself; why is he running away from the court? He called the police, but his is now running away from the same police he invited. We thank the Inspector General of Police (IG) for not putting the woman to shame, thank you for stepping into the matter.
“Ikedi Ohakim must make himself available for proper justice, and we advise Ilomuanya to stop poking his nose in what does not concern him, or he will get consumed in it,” Agulana said.
Speaking also, another woman leader of group, Mrs. Faith Mbagwu, expressed dissatisfaction in the action of Ohakim against Amuchienwa, insisting that for peace to reign, let Ohakim settle amicably with the woman instead of washing his dirty linen in the public.
While their protest was going on at the court, arguments by counsel to Ohakim and Amuchinwa on who attracted the protesters to the court prompted a halt to the day sitting.
The former governor, Ohakim, has been embroiled in a N500 million suit of alleged fraud against Amuchinwa.
In his reaction, counsel to Ohakim, Mr. Aloy Echemakor, described the protest as a contrived and fake one, adding that: “Even though Ohakim is a public figure, this matter is personal, and has nothing to do with protest by hired people.
“I do not know the purpose of the protest, though it is a fake one. It is a contempt of court by mentioning the name of the Judge, which has actually caused a ripple in the state judiciary. It may result to criminal or civil consequences.”