Justice Theresa Diai, Delta State Chief Judge.

Abasifreke Effiong

Human rights defenders and lawyers in Delta state have raised alarm over what have been described as an act of judicial rascality exhibited by Magistrate Patricia Nsolo, of Magistrate Court 1, Asaba.

Magistrate Nsolo has been petitioned to the Delta State Judicial Service Commission for remanding Princess Divine Unuavworho in prison for contempt without a charge.

Human rights defenders in Delta state have criticised Magistrate Nsolo saying that she acted wrongly by commiting Princess Unuavworho to 14 days in prison for contempt without any charge or any prior act of misdemeanor.

In a petition to the Delta State Judicial Service Commission, counsel to Ms. Unuavworho, Barr. Igho Ogedegbe said his client was arrested on Thursday 10th November by men of the Nigeria Police Force, arraigned before Magistrate Nsolo on November 11 and was committed for contempt.

Barr. Ogedegbe in the petition said when counsel to the petitioner inquired from the Magistrate why she committed his client for contempt, His Worship said it was based on ‘orders from above’.

Magistrate Nsolo has been accused of abuse of power and using judicial powers in aiding politician to settle personal vendetta against Princess Unuavworho.

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The petition reads in part : “On the 11th of November, 2022 the petitioner (Princess Divine Unuavworho) was taken to Magistrate Court 1 Asaba headed by His Worship Nsolo Patricia .U.(Mrs.) on allegation of contempt of court and when the petitioner’s lawyer present inquired as to when the act of contempt was committed as she was never charged or on criminal trial before any court over this matter. That upon the appearance of the petitioner, the magistrate merely said she was guilty of contempt and proceeded to remand her for a period of 14days.”

“Sadly, the decision has called for question as there was no matter involving the petitioner before the said court to warrant the said decision, nor was any charge read out to the petitioner neither was there any contempt proceeding as the said Magistrate His Worship Nsolo Patricia U,(Mrs.) informed the counsel present representing the petitioner that she acted upon an order from above and she was not ready to listen to any body and ordered that the petitioner be remanded in prison until the 23rd day of November 2022.”

Speaking to The Dune on telephone on Friday 18th November, Barr. Ogedegbe said they have initiated procedures to secure the release of his client.

He said “Securing her release is procedural. Upon receiving our petition, the Chief Justice she has given the Magistrate 48 hours to respond to our petition, the timeline will elapse today, so by Monday we will know the outcome.”

Who wants Princess Divine Unuavworho remanded?

The petition states:

“We are solicitors to HON. PRINCESS DIVINE UNUAVWORHO who shall hereinafter be referred to as “THE PETITIONER” on whose firm instructions and behalf we hereby write and deliver this petition to you.It is our brief “THE PETITIONER” reported a case of hostage taking and vote buying at the Delta State police command sometime in June, 2022 against one Christabel Ebiuwen as our client was an ad-hoc delegate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whose votes alongside that of other delegates determined the emergence of the party’s candidate.

That prior to the primary election, one Engr. Christabel Ebiuwen called THE PETITIONER on phone sometime in May, 2022 requesting to see her over her status as a delegate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as they were of same fellowship but at loggerhead.

That upon the eventual visit of the said Engr. Christabel Ebiuwen to “THE PETITIONER” after her earlier rude behavior, she pleaded for her forgiveness and at the point of her departure gave an envelope to “THE PETITIONER” which was discovered to be a total sum of one million naira (N1,000,000.00) only and she later insisted was for vote buying.

Sadly, though by no fault of our client, the said Engr. Christabel lost out in the primary election held by the party on the 22nd of May, 2022 and started making troubles with her right from the venue of the election upon the declaration of the winner of the PDP candidate.That the very next day 23rd of May, 2022 was the PDP primary election day for the house of Senate election slated to hold at the Atlantic hall, Sapele, Delta State.

On the said day, while THE PETITIONER was set for the accreditation exercise, she was apprehended by five heavily built up men armed with sophisticated weapons who took her to an unknown location where she was made to speak with the said Engr. Christabel who informed her about her decision to kill her and nothing will happen should she fail to return her money given to her.

That THE PETIONER was held hostage from the hours of 10am till 2pm before she was moved to Warri and after much persuasion by THE PETITIONER but to no avail, she was left with no choice than to proceed to the school of her about 15years old son who with her instruction proceeded to the house and removed every cash in the house amounting to about four million two hundred thousand naira only.That the above sum of money was brought to the designated venue by her son in his school bag before she was released and could not return to Sapele for the senatorial primary election.

Again, the said Engr. Christabel with her thugs attacked her in Asaba during the governorship primary election claiming she was going against the governor’s instruction of voting whereas she never had any discussion with her as to who to be voted for during the governorship primary election.That upon the arrest of the said Christabel, the police command insisted the trip to Warri from Sapele where she was removed without voting for the National Assembly and Senatorial election was voluntary despite the admission of vote buying and forceful recovery of same by Engr.

Christabel but the police kept a blind eye. THE PETITIONER was on the 10th day of November 2022 driving within the DSC township preparatory to her event of Princess of culture 2022 practice section, approved by the Delta State government when she was accosted by the said Engr. Christabel and her boys again who invited police officers of the Ovwian division to arrest her in aid of the police officers of Asaba Command.”

Christabel Ebiuwen contested for the Warri South state constituency seat.