The Garnishee matter between Madumere and Imo State Government has taken a new toll with more facts emerging from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria clearing the air further on the fallacies created by the Imo State Government alongside revelations about how Zenith Bank was unsealed and Legal Practitioners carrying out legal duties were unduly abducted and locked up. Things are really getting interesting as it looks like the Imo State Government Lawyer may lose his wig and gown for this unlawful act.

Read further for more details!

Madumere VS Hope


1.00 BACKGROUND1.01 Following the closure of the Owerri Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, the Nigerian Bar Association, Owerri Branch, in the emergency meeting jointly held by members of the J. I. Ogamba, Esq. led Executive Committee and the Advisory Committee of the Branch on Friday, the 17th day of June 2022, constituted a three (3) man Committee and designated same as “Fact-Finding Committee on the Remote and Immediate Causes of the Closure of the NICN Owerri Judicial Division” (The Committee). The Committee’s term of reference was to inquire into the facts resulting in the closure of the Owerri Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) and make recommendations accordingly. This Committee comprised:

) Chidi B. Nworka, Esq. (Chairman)) U. N. Nwakaeti, Esq. (Member)) Chinedu Agu, Esq. (Secretary)1.02 Subsequently^ there was a democratic transition in the leadership of NBA Owerri Branch which saw to the emergence of the D. U. Alinnor, Esq. led administration. This new administration sometime later, following the voluntary withdrawal by Mr. Chinedu Agu of his membership of the Committee, re-constituted the membership of the same. Consequently, the Committee now comprised:

) Chidi B. Nworka, Esq. (Chairman)) U. N. NWakaeti, Esq. ‘ (Member)) Kingsley C. Ehujuo, Esq., ACArb (Secretary)


2.01 In the course of its activities/facts finding, the Committee interviewed the following persons:

Mrs. Joy Iwuchukwu – Divisional Registrar (DR), NICN, Owerri Judicial Division.His Lordship, Hon. Justice I. S. Galadima – Judge, NICN, Owerri Division.Chief C. O. C. Akaolisa, Esq. – the Honourable Attorney General of Imo State.M. Alozie, SAN – External Solicitor to the Imo State Government (particularly on garnishee matters).K. C. O. Njemanze, SAN – Counsel to Prince Eze Madumere.S. E. Ibechem, Esq. – Director of Civil Litigation, Ministry of Justice, Imo State.Mrs. Ijeoma Adimiu – Assistant Chief State Counsel, Ministry of Justice, Imo State.CP Mohammed Ahmed Barde – Commissioner of Police, Imo State Police Command.Four members of Staff of NICN Owerri Judicial Division were assaulted, arrested, and detained by some State actors in league with Imo State Police Command, namely:) Chima Emeka Ndukwe) Akoma Jeremiah) Ikedi Amadi) Nze Moses Chigozie

Recap of the Interview with the DR:

2.03 In our interview with Mrs. Joy Iwuchukwu (DR, NICN, Owerri Division), she recounted that Suit No.: NICN/OW/16/2019 – Prince Eze Madumere v. The Governor of Imo State & 2 Ors was filed sometime in 2019. To her knowledge, the said action was duly served hut the Defendants neglected, ignored, or refused to defend same until judgment was delivered. Prior to the delivery of judgment; the Defendants put up some appearances through their Counsel, the Attorney General of Imo State, and Mrs. Ijeoma Adinnu and prayed for adjournment^ severally, to enable them explore the option of out of Court settlement. Obviously, the parties were unable to resolve amicably after series of attempts at settlement. Yet the Defendants neglected to file any defence. Judgment was delivered in the matter on the 1st day of June, 2021.

2.04 In October, 2021^ K. C. O. Njemanze, SAN (Counsel to the Plaintiff/Judgment Creditor) commenced garnishee proceedings. Again, the Defendants/Judgment Debtors came up with prayers for adjournment to explore settlement, this time, through their External Solicitor (L. M. Alozie, SAN). The Honourable Court again encouraged the proposed settlement and granted series of adjournments in respect thereof. This latter attempt at settlement yet again turned out futile.

2.05 The DR stated that L. M. Alozie, SAN came in to represent the Defendants/Judgment Debtors at the level of garnishee proceedings. After several adjournments to enable the parties settle, the Learned Silk filed the following applications:

) Motion to set aside the default judgment.) Motion to set aside the garnishee order nisi.) Notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the garnishee proceedings.2.06 The application to set aside the default judgment was heard and dismissed on the 10th day of May, 2022. The application to set aside the garnishee order nisi was heard and dismissed on the 27th day of May, 2022 whereupon the order nisi was made absolute. The Hon. Court gave the Defendants/Judgment Debtors Seventy-Two (72) hours to comply with judgment of the Court.

2.07 Suffice it to state that on the 25th day of May; 2022, at about 02:45pm, one of L. M. Alozie’s juniors, one Mrs. Eke Ogoamaka, was at the Court’s Registry to file a Notice of Appeal against the Ruling dismissing the application to set aside the default judgment. The said Counsel said her instruction was to file and dump the process in the Court’s Registry without making any arrangement for service of same. The Registrar refused to accept the process for two reasons:

(a.) that the Judge had directed that they should not accept any process relating to the matter from either party;

(b.) that they will not accept a process intended to be filed without arrangement for service. That they should either undertake to serve same or make arrangements for the Court’s Bailiff to serve the other party.

2.08 This position was quickly reported to L. M. Alozie, SAN by his said junior prompting the learned silk to call the DR and informed her that he had already spoken to his Lordship on phone, who directed that the process be accepted for filing. The DR responded that she would rather receive that instruction directly from her Boss, the Judge. At this point, L. M. Alozie, SAN shouted at the DR saying that they are all criminals in that office including His Lordship and that he knows that they were “doing business” with peoples’ cases and judgments, and that he will deal with all of them. The DR responded saying: “L. M. Alozie, you are the worst criminal in Imo State”. They now went ahead to sling and exchange insults. After the war of words, it was said that L. M. Alozie, SAN called the Judge again, who then directed that the Registry should accept the Notice of Appeal for filing.

2.09 It was reported by the DR that following the expiration of the demised Seventy-Two (72) hours, the Plaintifl/Judgment Creditor applied for a writ of execution which was granted by His Lordship, I. S. Galadima, on the 1st day of June, 2022. On the 2nd day of June, 2022, the Court’s Sheriffs proceeded to seal Fidelity Bank and Zenith Bank in execution of the judgment of the Court. The next day, 3/06/2022, Fidelity Bank complied with the terms of the order absolute, as it affects it.

It was further said that on the same 3/06/2022, four members of staff of the NICN, Owerri Division, were transiting in a branded vehicle of the NICN on an official errand. At about the same time, heavily armed Police men numbering over Fifty (50) in league with one Declan Emelumba (Commissioner for Information, Imo State), Chinasa Nwaneri (S.A., Special Duties to the Imo State Governor) and their hirelings/thugs had arrived the premises of Zenith Bank along Bank Road, Owerri, to unseal the Bank, ft was in the process of unsealing the Bank that the said Chinasa Nwaneri and their hirelings, upon sighting the NICN branded vehicle induced the Police to stop the vehicle, impounded same and arrest the said members of staff of the NICN. Upon their arrest, Chinasa Nwaneri and one of the Police men assaulted two of the staff of the Court while Chinasa Nwaneri kept shouting: “where is Joy?”The arrested members of staff of National Industrial Court, Owerri Division were taken to the Commissioner of Police at Imo State Police Headquarters. The Commissioner of Police equally demanded for the whereabout of the DR and directed that they be detained at the Anti-Kidnapping unit of the Imo State Police Command on the allegation that “they are the boys who went to steal State Government money domiciled in Zenith Bank”. The said staffwere detained from about 02:00pm till 11:00pm of same day. On same 3rd day of June, 2022; the Police orderly and security details of His Lordship, Hon. Justice I. S. Galadima were withdrawn on the orders of the Commissioner of Police.We were also informed by the DR that when the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria got wind of what happened, particularly of the withdrawal of the Judge’s security details, His Lordship called his brother Judge of the Owerri Judicial Division (Hon. Justice I. S. Galadima) and asked him to immediately leave his residence for his own safety. The latter left his official quarters, slept in a Hotel and flew to Abuja the next day. The President also directed the staff of the Court to stay away from the Court. On 7/06/2022, a mob carrying placards protested in front of the NICN Judge’s residence, Owerri, and set vehicle tyres on fire in the course of the protest (videos of which we were shown). Shortly thereafter, the President of the NICN officially announced the closure of the Owerri Division of the NICN.

J Recap of the interview with K. C. O. Njemanzej SAN

On 22nd day of June, 2022, the Committee met with K. C. O Njemanze, SAN (Counsel to Prince Eze Madumere). The Learned Silk narrated all that happened in the substantive matter. How the other party severally asked for adjournment to explore settlement and he never opposed any; he said one year elapsed between judgment and the garnishee proceedings which was intended to see whether the parties could reach any compromise. He confirmed substantially the narrative of the DR already captured above. Asked whether his Learned Brother Silk ever informed him of his intention to speak with His Lordship concerning the matter they were conducting before the Court, his answer was in the negative.

Recap of the 1st Interview with Chief C. O. C‘ Akaolisa, Esq. and L. M. Alozie, SAN

On same 22nd June, 2022, the Committee met with Chief C. O. C Akaolisa, Esq., the Honourable Attorney General of Imo State (HAG) and L. M. Alozie, SAN, in the Chambers of the Attorney General at the Ministry of Justice, Imo State Secretariat Complex, Owerri. The HAG confirmed that they tried settlement and that he told Prince Eze Madumere to forfeit some of his claims but he refused.

The HAG said he set up a committee comprising core civil servants from the office of the Head of Service and Civil Service Commission and requested them to advise him on whether the former Deputy Governor (Eze Prince Madumere) who was away from office due to his impeachment was entitled to tour duty allowance and imprest. That the committee wrote back to him, advising that somebody who was not actively in office is not entitled to those two heads of claim. Armed with that, he (HAG) again approached the Governor who said if Madumere is not prepared to forgo those heads of claim, then he should forget it.

When asked why the Government did not defend the action when it became clear that settlement had broken down, he said: “Mrs. Adinnu who was officially handling the case could not pay the default fees for late filing”. When it became clear that settlement was not achievable, the Government decided to “craft something” to defeat the judgment of the National Industrial Court. According to him, it was the “Fifth Columnists” that protested and did the bum fire at the front of the Judge’s residence. He said further that the Government used the High Court ex-parte order to unseal Zenith Bank. He also added that the Governor had directed that all garnishee proceedings affecting the Imo State Government be transferred to L. M. Alozie, SAN.

On his part, L. M. Alozie; SAN said he paid Four Hundred and Seven Thousand, Five Huhdred Naira (N407,500.00) default fees in the course of filing his application to set aside the default judgment. He also filed a motion to set aside the garnishee order nisiand a Preliminary Objection to the garnishee proceedings on the ground of failure to obtain the Attorney General’s consent. He confirmed that during the post judgment applications afore-said, His Lordship (Hon. Justice I. S. Galadima) advised them to explore settlement. That he wrote to the Governor respecting the settlement but due to absence of the Governor from the State, the letter he was supposed to write to K. C. O. Njemanze, SAN was not written as he waited endlessly for the Governor’s correspondence/position on the issue of settlement. However, the Committee was hot shown a copy of the said letter.

The Learned Silk said that his application to set aside the default judgment was refused and that the Judge directed him to argue his application to set aside the garnishee order nisi.This application was also refused. The preliminary objection was dismissed. He also said that when his Junior went to file the Notice of Appeal against the Court’s refusal to set aside the default judgment, his Junior was told that the Judge instructed them not to accept any process from him till the order nisi is made When he heard this, he called the Judge who admitted that it was his directive. He told the Judge that what he wanted to file was a Notice of Appeal against the Ruling dismissing his application to set aside the default judgment. At this point, the Judge said he could go ahead and file. His Junior went back to file the said Notice of Appeal but the DR refused to accept it. He then called the DR and told her that His Lordship said they can file. According to him, the DR hesitated and said “no, I will take instructions from my Oga and not you”. This got him infuriated and he poured vituperations on the DR, saying amongst others, that “they are criminals; they are not doing justice but business”. According to the Learned Silk, he and the DR insulted themselves.

Alozie, SAN, added that they were in receipt of a letter from Zenith Bank dated May 26, 2022 and titled: “Notification of Garnishee Order Nisi on the Account of Imo State Government in Suit No.: NICN/OW/19M/2021 -Prince Eze Madumere v. The Governor of Imo State & 2 Ors. (Zenith Bank Pic as Garnishee)” wherein Zenith Bank wrote to urge the State Government to take urgent steps to challenge the garnishee proceedings or otherwise the Bank will be left with no option but to pay over the garnishee sum to the judgment Creditor should the Court make the order nisi, absolute,against the Bank. It was at this point that the Government had to scramble and file the processes before His Lordship, Hon. Justice M. E. Nwagboso of the Imo State High Court. However, he dissociated himself from the processes filed at the Imo State High Court in Suit No.: HOW/590/2022 – Attorney General of Imo State v. Zenith Bank Pic & 7 Ors. Interestingly, he said he was not ready to lose his wig and gown for any client. He stated that it was one Fintan, Esq. (a Yoruba lawyer, whose surname he had forgotten) that drafted, signed and filed the processes. He promised to supply us with the full particulars of the said lawyer but this he never did.

Recap of the Interview with the Victims of the Incident

The Committee on 28th July, 2022, also had a joint meeting with the victims of the incident who identified themselves as Chima Emeka Ndukwe, Mr. Akoma Jei-eiiliah, Mr. Ikedi Amadi and Nze Moses Chigozie. Present in this meeting also was Mrs. Joy Iwuchukwu (DR NICN, Owerri Division). They all corroborated themselves in saying that they were on official errand in the branded Hyundai ilO vehicle of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Owerri, bearing Federal Government plate number, when they were accosted and arrested around Government House roundabout, Owerri by a legion of armed Policemen (iittmbering over fifty), in the company of Declan Emeluinba, Chinasa Nwaneri and their hirelings/thugs. Mr. Akoma was beaten up by the Police and Chinasa Nwaneri. Also, Nze Moses Chigozie (the Driver) was assaulted by the Police and Chinasa Nwaneri and his said hirelings when he refused to move the vehicle to the direction of the State Police Headquarters. Their assailants continued demanding that they should provide Joy, the DR. They narrated how they were taken before the Commissioner of Police who equally demanded for the whereabouts of Joy, the DR, before he directed that they be taken to the Anti-Kidnapping Unit where they were undressed to their boxers and detained from about 02:00pm to 11:00pm of the same day. Their vehicle bearing the insignia of the NICN was also impounded and detained along with them.

The DR denied the allegation that they charge and receive any percentage of the judgment sum from Judgment Creditors for levying execution. She gave examples of some other executions they have carried out for some other lawyers including L. M. Alozie, SAN for which they charged no such percentage or foes. She further revealed as follows:

That the said Notice of Appeal brought by L. M. Alozie, SAN was eventually filed and dumped in the Court’s Registry without service and has remained abandoned in the Registry to date.

That the Judge had mentioned to her hearing that the Governor of Imo State (His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodinma) had threatened him to the effect that: “if he was not careful in giving judgments against the Imo State Government, the thing that happens in Imo State will happen to him”. Based on this threat, a former Judge of the NICN Owerri Division had advised the present Judge not to return to Imo State after such a threat coming from the highest of quarters.

Summary of our Discussion with His Lordship Hon. Justice I. S. Galadima

Upon request, the DR provided us with His Lordship’s phone number. When we called him (Hon. Justice Galadima), His Lordship confirmed to us that indeed, what the DR told us was what happened. He said he got the call from one of the SSAs’ to the Imo State Governor. That he reported this to the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria. Asked about the instruction not to accept processes for filing from the parties, His Lordship said he never gave such instruction.

His Lordship also revealed that his Police orderly called him that fateful day (3/06/2022) to inform him that he has been withdrawn with immediate effect. Because of the threat aforesaid and the withdrawal of his Police orderly and security details, the President of the NICN asked him to leave Imo State immediately and return to Abuja.

The 2nd Interview with the Attorney General of Imo State

On the 28thday of July, 2022, we returned and re-interviewed Chief C. O. C. Akaolisa, Esq., the Honourable Attorney General of Imo State. He was alone this time. The HAG revealed that it was L. M. Alozie, SAN that prepared all the processes that were filed at the Imo State High Court in Suit No.: HOW/590/2022 – Attorney General of Imo State V. Zenith Bank Pic & 7 Ors. At the time, he was sick such that he could not even attend the APC National Convention in Abuja. That S. E. Ibechem, Esq. (Director of Civil Litigation, Imo State Ministry of Justice) was asked to sign the processes. He revealed that to the best of his knowledge; it was Chinasa Nwaneri that planned and organised the protest with L. M. Alozie, SAN in the latter’s law firm.

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