Justice Alexious Okuma of Atani High Court has directed the Anambra State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Obinna Ngonadi and other officials of the Ministry to stop harassing the Chairman of Ogbaru Main Market, Ndubuisi Ochiogu and the members of his executives with security operatives.
Justice Okuma issued the order when the case brought by Ochiogu-led executive against the Commissioner for Commerce and Attorney-General of the State came up for hearing at Onitsha High Court.
The directive followed complaints by the counsel to the leadership of Ogbaru Main market in Anambra State, Ben Uzuegbu (SAN) that the order of the Court which stated that the status quo ante bellum should be maintained was not obeyed by the Commissioner and his officials.
The complainants’ counsel informed the court that the respondents have been harassing his clients with invitation to the Police and Directorate of State Services, DSS.
However, a Principal State Counsel, Loveline Ezude, who appeared for the Commissioner and others, accused Ochiogu and his executives of using thugs to harass and intimidate traders in the market.
Justice Okuma in his directive said there was no need for the involvement of the security operatives by the government officials in a matter being handled by the court, noting that government as the father of all should always toe the line of civility in the discharge of their duties.
He warned that no trader in the market should be harassed, touched or stopped from carrying out his/her legitimate business.
Justice Okuma who adjourned further hearing till June 17, this year, also warned that he should not hear that the leadership of the market imposed any levy on the traders to collect money to pay the Judge, saying he would not hesitate to descend heavily on anybody found involved in such act.