Edo State High court sitting in Benin City, has restrained a housewife, Mrs Agnes Ikpea, her family members and associates from confronting, molesting, harassing, intimidating and causing or threatening violence against a devorce-seeking billionaire in the State, Chief Leemon Ikpea.
The court presided over by Justice Joseph Acha on Wednesday reaffirmed his earlier ruling dated February 7, 20121 between Chief Leemon Ikpea and Mrs. Agness Ikpea who it the Respondent in a divorce suit No. B/747/2020.
The court also restrained Respondent, Mrs. Agness Okpea’s agents, servants, and/or privies or whosoever from interfering with the Petitioner’s business or domestic life, pending the determination of the substantive petition before the court.
TheNewpad reports that the judge had ruled in two motions filed by the two actors but were allegedly skewed in publications which portrayed the judge in bad fate.
The court also “ordered that the Petitioner provide a suitable apartment by way of accommodation within Victoria Island, Lekki axis of Lagos or anywhere convenient within Lagos outside Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos forthwith to enable the Respondent move into, pending the hearing and determination of this petition.
The presiding justice further held “alternatively, Respondent move into the parties home at No. 21, Boundary road, Government Reservation Area (GRA) in Benin City, forthwith, pending the hearing and determination of the petition”.
At resume hearing on Wednesday in Benin City, justice Acha reaffirmed his earlier ruling of February 7, 2021 on the case.
The judge, cautioned journalists and lawyers to ensure they protect the integrity of their professions and the society they serve.
He held that the Respondent had petitioned the Chief Judge of Edo state for reassignment of the suit but insisted that he stands by his ruling which he said was to protect the lives of all the parties involved and he thereafter adjourned the suit to April 22 while awaiting the decision of the Chief Judge on the petition.
According to the court, “When you embark on a campaign of calumny, you are not doing the institutions any good. When you decided to malign people because of a matter that is not in your favour, I think you are only destroying the institution.
“The journalists, I think they have a duty to be objective in their reportage, they must be objective and do proper investigation. A situation whereby they are doing the bidding of their paymaster will impinge on the integrity of their profession
“It is correct that this matter was fixed for hearing today and today two motions were filed on behalf of the respondent the last was given to me this morning. More importantly after the last sitting of this court, a petition was written on behalf of the Respondent to the Honourable Chief Judge seeking reassignment of this case to another court, the petition was referred to me for my reaction, I responded and awaiting the directive of the Honourable Chief Judge on the next step.
“I wish to state that the practice of journalism like most other professions is noble no matter who the sponsor is or the sponsors are, no matter how much the journalists is paid, he owes a duty to the society, God and his conscience for responsible reportage by ensuring that he publishes accurately and authentically.
“I want to repeat that in my ruling of the 17th Day of February 2021 in the lives of the parties in this case, the need to protect and safeguard the lives remain my primary concern more than anything else”.
Counsel to the Respondent, Orji Ukah said it was not in character to discuss court issues with journalists and correct the earlier misleading report which did not emanate from him while the Counsel to the petitioner, George Igbokwe called for sustenance of the integrity of the journalism profession.