The Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an application by former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha asking for an injunction to stop the state government from taking further steps on his property allegedly marked for confiscation.
It will be recalled that Okorocha’s lawyer, Oba Maduabuchi (SAN), had informed the court, at the resumed hearing in a suit by the ex-governor, that his client’s property had been marked by agents of the state.
The lawyer argued, among others, that unless a preservative order was made by the court against the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) and the Imo State government (listed among respondents in the suit), Okorocha would be prejudiced.
He prayed to the court, orally, for an interim restraining injunction against the state government and the EFCC.
The EFCC and Imo State government objected to Maduabuchi’s request, arguing that the court had no jurisdiction to hear Okorocha’s suit and grant his prayers during the court’s ongoing vacation.
They added that the case was not in the category of those that could be heard during the court’s vacation.
They also averred that Okorocha did not apply for and obtain a fiat from the court’s Chief Judge to hear the case during the vacation.
The EFCC and the Imo State government contended that Okorocha failed to comply with Order 46, Rule 5 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedures Rule (2019) in filing his fresh motion.
In his ruling, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that the bone of contention was whether or not the court could make an order when the issue of jurisdiction was still pending.
“My simple response is that, since making an order is akin to remotely assuming jurisdiction, the court can not make the order as requested by the applicant.”
I adjourn this matter to August 24 to hear applications challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter during vacation,” he said.