Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Declaration Of Ohanaeze Ndigbo As ‘Illegal Association’

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has dismissed an application seeking an order to compel the Inspector General Of Police, Mohammed Adamu and the Attorney-General of the Federation to commence criminal prosecution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General, Prof. George Obiozor, and others, for allegedly operating an unregistered association.

The applicant of the suit had claimed that the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, was an illegal association.

The suit was instituted by one Incorporated Trustees Of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly (applicant) represented by Amobi Nzelu, Esq., while the IGP and the AGF were the first and second respondents.

The applicant wanted the IGP and AGF to exercise its powers and “arrest, investigate and commence criminal proceedings against Prof. George Obiozor, Obi Nwali, Okey Egbuche Beatrice Eze, Bartholomew Okeke and Ogbonna for running an illegal and/or unregistered association known as Ohanaeze Ndigbo.”

The lawyer had alleged that while the applicant (his client) is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the name “Ohanaeze Ndigbo” was not captured in the commission’s record as the organization headed by Prof. Obiozor.

But in his ruling on Friday, Justice Inyang Ekwo said the applicant failed to provide facts to guarantee the success of his application.

Subsequently, he termed the suit as frivolous and dismissed it for lacking in merit.

The ruling partly reads: “In my opinion, where such prayer is sought it must be demonstrated with concrete evidence that those sought to be arrested, investigated and prosecuted have criminal offence(s) known to law.

“The allegation here is that the persons sought to be arrested, investigated and prosecuted, that is, Prof. George Obiozor, Obi Nwali, Okey Egbuche, Beatrice Eze, Bartholomew Okeke and Ogbonna are running an illegal and/or unregistered association known as Ohanaeze Ndigbo similar to that of the Applicant which has been registered under Part C of the CAMA by the CAC.

“The onus is on the Applicant to show the statute underlying their allegation creates a criminal offence which the 1 and 2 Respondents are obligated to enforce by the power of arrest, investigation and prosecution.

“One clear thing about application ex-parte is that since opposition is not envisaged at that stage, Applicant must be cautious enough to clearly demonstrate to the Court and cause of justice which the application aims to address.

“In the end, I am unable to see any justifiable cause in this application. I think this application…is frivolous and I am unable to lend the judicial powers of this Court to encourage such litigations.

“I make an order dismissing this case for lacking in merit. This is the order of this Court.”