Three Media Houses Petition C’River Chief Judge over Judge’s Refusal to Sign Order

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Three media firms, Pillar Communication, Watchman Publishers Limited, along with Charles Asuquo Eniang (Glimmer News Papers) have petitioned the Acting Chief Judge of Cross River, Justice Eyo Effiom Ita, over refusal of the Presiding Judge of High Court 4 Calabar, Justice S.M. Anjor, to sign a garnishee order he personally granted in favour of the litigants.

Recall that the three media houses had dragged the State government to court over its refusal to pay a pending debt despite several entreaties. The court had entered judgment in favour of the litigants and directed the state government to settle the debt.

In a petition dated 11 December, 2020, the petitioners through their counsel, Patrick Ofem Esq, said they have lost confidence in the capacity of the Presiding Judge to dispense justice in the case with Suit No: HC/MSC/110/2020; HC/111/2000 and HC/112/2020 between Pillar Communication, Charles Asuquo Eniang {Glimmer Newspapers} and Watchman Publishers Limited on one side, and Calabar Municipality Government and 19 others VS First Bank Plc and ANOM on the other.

They therefore asked that the case be reassigned to another judge.

The petition read in part: “We act as counsel to the above applicants in garnishee proceedings in the above named matters. The judgment creditors’ application for Decree nisi was moved and same granted by Honourable Justice S. M. Anjor on or about the 22 day of July, 2020.

“My Lord, for about five months now, the said Judge has not signed the order for Decree nisi, despite our repeated demands. His reason, we are made to understand, is that there is a pending appeal.

“My Lord, we are aware that some of the parties in the above matters are on appeal. We, as judgment creditors are to go after the parties that have not appealed a judgment of a court which is what the above proceedings seek to achieve.

“However my Lord, we pause to puzzle, is it in the place of the court to raise the issue of filing an appeal for a party who is yet to fill an affidavit to show cause upon being served with the Decree nisi order?

“Sir, the court adjourned these matters to Monday the 14 day of December, 2020 without still seeing the necessity to issue us with the tools to work with.

“Consequently, we humbly apply for the sake of justice for reassignment of these matters as our confidence in High Court four has been eroded. We pray my lord to grant this harmless application for the sake of justice.”

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