Justice Otti gave the order in a Landmark Judgement she delivered in Suit No A/MISC87/2022
An Awka High court presided over by Justice Peace Otti, has ordered the Anambra State government to construct roads in Awka town and villages to give it a befitting Status of a State capital without further delay.
Justice Otti of Awka high court three, gave the order in a Landmark Judgement she delivered in Suit No A/MISC87/2022 brought before it by the incorporated Trustees of Association of Awka indigenous Advocate against the Anambra State government.
Justice Otto described the neglect as unfair to the people and residents of Awka city which since the creation of Anambra State in 1991 has been neglected and abandoned by successive past administration of the State.
She therefore upheld three, out of the four group of the relief sought in the suit. These reliefs includes,a declaration,that the failure and neglect by the Anambra State government to construct roads in Awka,the Anambra State Capital and keep them in good repair is a breach of constitutional obligation.
That the neglect has also occasioned severe restrictions of free movement of people in and around Awka and as such constitute a violation of the right to freedom of movement of indigenes and residents of Awka town as guaranteed under section 41(1) of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 as amended.
That the court is compelling the Anambra State government to forthwith commence extensive reconstruction, rehabilitation and repair of all the roads in Awka town to allow free movement of people and secure the lives of the indigenes and residents of the town .
Justice Otto however decline to uphold the final relief praying for an order compelling the 1st respondent (Anambra State government) to pay the applicants the sum of #500,000,000 naira(five hundred million naira only)for the benefit of it’s members and other seriously affected indigenes and residents of Awka town whose free movement has been hampered or whose lives have been put in jeopardy or great danger as a result of the neglect by the Anambra State government as a civic duty to keep the road in Awka in good repair to befit the status of a State capital.
The suit according to the applicants were brought pursuant to section 33(1)and 41 of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 as amended and Article 4and 12(1) of the African charter on human and people’s Rights ratification and enforcement Act,Cap,A9 Law of the federation of Nigeria,2004, order 11,rules 2and 3 of the fundamental rights (enforcement procedure) rules 2009.
Led by the chairman of Awka Indigenous Advocates Ifeanyi Nwonwu, ESQ of Okwuawka chembers,the legal team had during the trial canvassed vigorously that 22yrs after creation, Awka the capital of Anambra State still represents a typical glorious city, while her Ebonyi State counterpart, has been fully transformed into a mega city State befitting a State capital, blaming it on the absolute negligence of past government of the State particularly the government of the immediate past governor Chief Willie Obiano.
Flanked by Emenike Nnajide, N.N Ande-Muottoh,Ngozi Asonadu, A.Z Ande-Moottoh and Charity Ndife the Awka Advocate legal team contended that Anambra State government has all it takes to give the State capital not only good network of roads but a befitting Status of a State capital of world standard.
Reacting to the Judgement a former deputy speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly Ozo, the Right Hon Otutu Awka the 3red, Hon, Keluo Muolokwu said it is unfortunate that successive government decided to neglect Awka as a State capital. He said there is no where in the south East to compare to Anambra State capital in terms of developmental infrastructure.
“We are bitter that after 22yrs of creation successive government did little or nothing to develop Awka.”
He however paid glowing honour and commendation to the Labour party presidential candidate and former governor of the state Mr Peter Obi, Dem Virge Etiaba for the much they did and mostly the present governor Professor Charles SoLudo for aggressively starting construction of inter city roads in the State capital recently .
The former deputy speaker noted also that some of the intercity roads have been cut into two, while the remaining ones are death traps, even as he claimed that the allocation of Awka LG alone can fix these roads which according to him are even not up to1kilometer.
On their parts, former chairman of the Awka chapter of the Bar Association, Chief Uba Anene and Prince SKC Ndigwe described the development as painful, thanking governor Soludo for his timely intervention.
They made it clear that the court action which was instituted during Obiano’s regime was against his government, alleging that Obiano had hatred for the Awka people and as such didn’t want to do anything in the State capital.
According them the action was not targeted at SoLudo government per se but past administration of the state and particularly Obiano’s government.
They also commended the courage and legal sagacity demonstrated by the judge in delivering the landmark judgement saying she is a fearless jury.