A High Court in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, has stopped the swearing-in of Calistus Ekenze as the new Deputy Governor of the state.
The court issued an interim order stopping the swearing-in ceremony after it was approached by Eze Madumere who is challenging his impeachment as deputy governor of the state.
Top government officials had started gathering at the Sam Mbakwe Exco Chambers inside the Government House in Owerri where the swearing-in was supposed to take place as early as 10 am.
But just after waiting for over two hours for the commencement of the ceremony, the Imo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for justice, Miletus Nlemadim, announced that the state government had complied with a fresh order from the court preventing the Chief Judge of the state, Pascal Nnadi, from swearing-in Ekenze.
While the Speaker of the House, Acho Ihim, said the impeachment followed the outcome of a report of a 7-man panel, constituted by the Chief Judge of the state to investigate allegations of gross misconduct, the impeached deputy governor described his removal from office as illegal, adding that neither the House of Assembly nor the seven-man panel invited him to any of their sittings.
According to the Attorney-General, the state government is law-abiding and respects the rule of law and as such obeyed the court order.
He, however, explained that the state government is doing everything possible to vacate the order to enable the state government to swear in the deputy governor designate on a future date.
Meanwhile, the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has urged all parties to be calm and obey the court order to prevent any breakdown of law and order in the state