A Federal High Court in Owerri, the Imo State capital, has ordered the arrest of five officials of Governor Rochas Okorocha government over the demolition of a house belonging to Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho.
Iheanacho was the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the 2015 governorship election in the state.
The officials are commissioners for Works and Transport and that of Lands, Survey, and Urban Planning, Josephine Udoji and Lawrence Eburuoh respectively.
Others are the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works, Chibuzor Iwuagwu; the Director of Works, Ministry of Works, C. E. Egbuka, and the Director of Works Imo State Government House, Owerri, Emeka Duru.
The arrest other came following the ruling of Justice Lewis Alagoa, who is presiding over the civil suit number FHC/OW/133/2016 filed by Iheanacho, a former interior minister against the Imo State government.
Iheanacho had approached the court over the demolition of part of his property on Orlu Road in Owerri Urban by construction workers engaged for road expansion by the state government.
However, when the case came up on Monday, Justice Alagoa, following the absence of all the defendants in court, ordered the Inspector-General of Police and his officers to arrest the Imo officials anywhere they are sighted across the country.
The court had on November 14, 2016, called on all the defendants to appear before it on December 8, 2016; but none of honoured the summon.
Following the order of arrest, counsel to the defendants, J. C. Ibe, explained to the court that the respondents had filed an appeal against the earlier order of the court, adding that notices of the appeal and stay of proceeding, as well as notice of preliminary objection and affidavit contesting the contempt order against the respondents had been served on the claimant.
Her submission was refuted by counsel to the plaintiff, Ken Njemanze, who said that his client was not aware of any appeal by the respondents as claimed by their counsel.
After hearing the arguments of the counsel, the presiding judge made the subsequent order and fixed May 2 for continuation of the matter.