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Owerri Magistrate Court: What a Court Should Not Be

Egejuru Austin T.

Little by little, and as the day goes by, the Owerri Magistrate Court, in the courts of some political Magistrates, have painted the Judiciary in bad lights by the ways they conduct proceedings of their courts in the most unjudicial manner, and at the whims and caprices of agents in government.

We have had situations where these agents boasted of what will be the ruling of a Magistrate, lo and behold, it appeared like a correct score result in a sport bet.

This observations have left many political watchers contemplating if there was some sort of connivance between these power mongers and the Magistrates, or if the reoccurring happenstances were mere coincidences.

Regrettably, but very curiously, the consistent pattern and modus operandi with which these power mongers, and some Magistrates, prosecute cases of some political exposed persons, speaks volume that there was, and there is still ongoing underhand compromise between these power mongers, and the Magistrates.

I hereby highlight some of the observed disingenuous tactics deplored by these power mongers and their Magistrates collaborators to get at their victims;

1) Manipulation of law enforcement agents to ensure accused persons are not allowed legal representations, or opportunity to know the facts of cases/charges against them during investigations.

2) Surreptitious arraignment of accused persons with the most awkward evil intention of not allowing them legal representations before these sets of compromised Magistrates, so as to allow the Magistrates give express remand orders against the accused persons without having any lawyer in their defenses

3) Magistrates refusing oral and written bail applications no matter the superior arguments of law canvassed by defense counsels. Once a directive is given to these Magistrates to remand perceived political enemies, no amount of arguments from 100 SAN’s will be reasonable enough to change their minds.

4) Entertaining matters they lack jurisdiction to entertain, afterwards, turn around to deny bail applications citing lack of jurisdiction, just to achieve their vindictive aim of elongating the accused person’s stay in incarceration. This new tactics was propounded and popularized by the chief law officer of Imo State, tested by power drunken politicians, including but not limited to some members of the State House of Assembly.

Close monitors of the cases between Attorney General of Imo State vs Ambrose Nwaogwugwu, Isdore vs Okezue and co, and the ongoing trier of the member representing Ohaji/Egbema State Constituency, Herclus Okoro, will testify to the deployment of the above tactics, and the unethical stance of the Magistrates of the Owerri Magistrate Court.

The continued hostage of some Magistrates of the Owerri Magistrate Court is gradually assuming a dangerous dimension where ordinary Imolites are on daily basis losing faith and confidence in the impartiality of the Magistrates and their abilities to stand on their own to deliver judgements without kowtowing to the advances and directives of some power brokers from sundry quarters.

The saying that the Judiciary is the last hope of the common man, may not apply to the Owerri Magistrate Court. Rights and privileges of the common man are more often than not, trampled upon or tossed around with recklessness.

Magistrates, as the closest social arbiters to ordinary citizens, should be seen to be on the side of the defenseless, the poor, the weak, the vulnerable and the classless. Magistrates lives among the people therefore, they are expected to share in the people’s plights, instead of adding to their woes. Conspiring with vested authorities against less powerful citizens is today, the major albatross of the Owerri Magistrate Court, and the Judiciary by extension.

Lastly, I call on the Magistrates of Owerri Magistrate Court to live up the expectations of ordinary Imolites. They should always stand for justice and not for the interest of anyone no matter how highly placed. The Magistrates should untie themselves from the apron strings of desperate politicians who would want the law be stood on its head just to massage their insatiable egos.

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