An Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Benjanim Wordu, on Monday asked a customary court at Ibagwa-Ani, Enugu State to stop media reportage of his divorce suit before the court.
Wordu, the Area Commander in charge of Onitsha Police Area Command, is in court to end his 14-year-old marriage to Juliet Wordu, a surveyor.
The ACP, who had earlier testified before the court, accused the wife of buying a car without his consent among other things. Accordingly, he is asking the court to terminate the marriage, which is blessed with four children.
However, shortly before his wife could present her testimony before the court, the police chief made an oral application, asking the court to stop the media from publishing further proceedings of the matter.
Speaking through his counsel, Offorkansi Clement, the area commander asked the court “to make an order restraining the press from further covering of this proceedings because it has come to our notice that the press has been publishing this news verbatim and it is not in the interest of this matter, because that is tantamount to ridiculing the children and family of the said marriage.
Offorkansi, represented by a lawyer from his chamber, said, “I bring this application under part 3, sub 10 of the Customary Court Laws of Enugu State. In addition, order 12, rule 6 of the Customary Court Law equally provides that this court has power to control its activities in the interest of peace and justice.”
In a counter motion, counsel for the defendant, J.U. Ugwuoke, told the court that the press is a serious organ in the society, with its own duties and obligations to the society.
“In the performance of those duties, even proceedings at the Supreme Court are reported; indeed judicial proceedings of all kinds are reported in the media, both in the print and the broadcast media. This is also a court, so your worship, your own court is not different from other courts.”
In its ruling, the President of the Court, Sunday Ugwude, said even though it had powers to regulate its proceedings, it cannot stop the press from doing its work, unless when the reports were contrary to the proceedings. It ordered the applicant to produce any evidence showing any media report that was different from the proceedings of the court.
Meanwhile, Juliet told the court not to dissolve the marriage.
She said, “I love my husband, I love my home as well as my children. We both brought them into the world and I feel it is right that two of us should join hands to raise them.
“Secondly, he made a mistake in his first marriage, which is blessed with a son; I don’t want such a mistake again. I would not want a situation where my children will be given to another woman or his sisters.”
Juliet informed the court that she needed to buy a new car as she was spending a lot to maintain the old one.
She added, “There was a week I spent N200,000 to repair that car; because of these expenses, I felt like buying a new one. I even told him to come and take the money and buy the car and give it to me as a birthday gift but he refused and insisted that I should not buy.”