New Telegraph

Court orders man’s arrest by police over refusal to cater for children

Gavel and scales

An Akwa Ibom State High Court in Uyo has ordered the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ayilara Adedamola, to arrest and keep a father of three , Henry Edet Unung, at the Uyo Correctional Centre for one month for refusing to take care of his own children. The presiding judge, Ntong Ntong, gave the order of committal while delivering a ruling in a suit brought by the wife of the respondent and mother of the three children.

Justice Ntong held that the respondent deliberately refused to obey the court order and decision of his brother judge, Iboro Ukpanah, dated November 9, 2018. He also recalled that the “court made an order that the respondent should pay N20,000 monthly as maintenance allowance, including providing a bag of rice, beans, garri and other food items for his own children, in addition to payment of their school fees, medical needs, clothing and other necessaries”. The judge said the father of three “bluntly refused to abide by the court order, which amounts to contempt and a wanton disrespect and affront to the majesty of the court”. Justice Ntong also recalled that “in September 2019, the court ordered the Registrar of the court to issue the respondent with Form 48 pursuant to Order Nine, Rule 13 of the Judgement Enforcement Rules and Section 72 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act 2004” reminding him to obey the court order, but the respondent refused to obey”.

Justice Ntong described “the conduct of the respondent as satanic” adding that, he is in gross contempt of the orders of the court and cannot go scot free”. He said: “The right of a court to punish whoever disobeys its orders is inherent and legitimate rights and that although the power should be sparingly used, I will make the respondent realise that the welfare of his own children should not be abandoned”. Justice Ntong ordered “the police to keep the father of three in prison custody for one calendar month before he will be brought before the court to purge himself of the contempt”. “By Section 1 of the Child Rights Law 2008 of Akwa Ibom State, any decision taken in any proceedings involving children should be generally made in the best interest of the child or children”, the judge further held. The case has been adjourned to March 28, 2024 for further hearing.

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