The member representing Aba South State Constituency in Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Obinna Ichita has raised alarm, alerting the general public of plot by the state government to try him secretly in court.
Ichita who was elected under the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), in a statement on Thursday claimed that the suit before a High Court in the state with suit no. A/182/2021 was instituted against him by the Commissioner for Youth Development, Barr. Charles Esonu while he (Esonu) was the Special Assistant to the Governor of the state on Special Duties at the time the suit was instituted against him.
Hon. Ichita in a chat with our correspondent stated that his crime was his continued outcry on the deplorable nature of roads in his constituency which he said the state government has used every means to stop him from, but have hit brick walls.
“We received strong and credible intelligence information that there was a secret suit filled against me by the Abia State Commissioner For Youths Development, Barr. Charles Esonu in a suit no. A/182/2021. and his statement of claim, he said that he was the Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties.
“He is praying the court to make an order for me not to talk about the state of roads in my constituency and for me to pay him N200m for the damages that he incurred as a result of my talking about the state of roads in my constituency.
“The main thing is that I was not served. My office is known in the House of Assembly and my constituency office is also known, but I wasn’t served.
“They went and told the judge that they made application for substituted service; that they were going to serve me at the constituency office which the court granted.
“But instead of serving me at the address, they went and hid the document elsewhere, where somebody discovered it and notified us. Our lawyers have confirmed that and have taken the necessary steps in that regards.
“They also want the court to order me to pay them 200 Million Naira as damages for talking about bad roads in Aba south, the constituency I was elected to represent.
“The suit was filed by Charles Esonu, Abia State Commissioner for Youths, he listed the Abia State Commissioner for Trade and Investment as one of his witnesses.
“Ha choro ikpe m ikpe azu?!
“It is interesting that instead of utilizing the money (over 56 Million US dollars ) that Abia State government received from the World Bank for flood mitigation project in Aba, Abia State government officials are secretly asking the High Court of Abia State to order me to stop talking about abandoned and dilapidated roads in my constituency.”
On whether the suit against him will affect his legislative duties, Hon. Ichita said that would not be possible. “My duty (as a lawmaker) is provided for by the constitution which I know is superior to other laws in Nigeria.
“This cannot deter me because when we talk about the state of our roads, it is not politics, but reality. You cannot access any of those road projects that made the World Bank release $56million intervention to the state.
“There is no single road in my constituency that is accessible; from Port Harcourt to Ohanku, Obohia, Omuma, Ihieorji, Uratta.”
“I don’t represent the Youth Commissioner, I represent the good people of Aba South State Constituency who have asked me to continue to talk about the state of roads in their constituency and they are the only people who I take instructions from.
“Apart from security challenge as a result of the deplorable nature of roads in my constituency which has prevented security agencies from patrolling in my constituency due to the nature of roads in my area, in the event of fire outbreak, the fire men do not have access roads to come and attend to fire in my constituency during such emergencies.
“People that have businesses in my constituency including traders at Orie Ohabiam market, Nkwo Ngwa, Omuma road, Obohia etc can no longer do their businesses the way that they used to do because of lack of patronage as people access their business premises to patronise them.
“We also have health challenges because of the mountainous refuse opposite National High school on the Port Harcourt road is a potential breeding ground or an epidemic outbreak.
“It is very worrisome that even though that the State House of Assembly has passed a resolution asking the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) to evacuate the mountainous refuse, they are yet to do anything there.
“We can no longer visit our kith and kin because of the deplorable road that has cut us off from each other,” said Ichita
Reacting to the claims by the APGA lawmaker, the Chief Press Secretary to the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu; Mr. Onyebuchi Ememanka in his response said “I am not aware of any such plans by the State Government.
“I speak for the Governor of Abia State and I know for sure that no such thing is on his mind. It even sounds ridiculous to try a member of the House of Assembly for some so called outspokenness?
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“Try him under what law? I am a lawyer and the whole thing sounds extremely outlandish and nonsensical.”