BREAKING! Court Convicts Self-Acclaimed Traditional Ruler
Self-acclaimed chief-elect of the Dan-Jumbo Chieftaincy House of Bonny Kingdom, Benedict Dan-Jumbo has been convicted for contempt of court and false claim to the chieftaincy stool of the Dan-Jumbo Chieftaincy House.
A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt presided over by Rosemary Ibanibo handed down the conviction on Thursday, March 30, 2023 when she delivered judgment in charge number, PMC/1114C/2016; Abinye Dan-Jumbo vs Benedict Dan-Jumbo & 2 Others.
Counsels for the plaintiff were Eugene Odey and Godsent Elenwa, while E. M. Omoruyi appeared for the defendants.
The two other defendants were discharged and acquitted by Chief Magistrate Ibanibo.
According to Odey, his client preferred as a private complaint pursuant to Section 89 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Rivers State for the offense punishable under Section 133 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Rivers State, explaining that the punishment prescribed for contempt is three months’ imprisonment.
The trial magistrate premised her verdict in the over eight years’ case on the intransigence of the defendant, who, according to her, the prosecution proved he continued to assert his claim to the stool despite the pendency of another suit on the matter in the State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Referencing several court judgments related to the matter, Ibanibo stated that the 1914 judgment which clearly upheld the tradition that only direct descendants of Dan Jene, founder of the Dan-Jumbo Chieftaincy House, can ascend the stool of the house remains in force unless and until vacated on appeal.
“All judgements remain valid and are enforceable until vacated on appeal. Ignoring an order of the court is an affront to the rule of law and undermines the authority of the court; and it is the duty of the court to protect its dignity.”
She stated that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the actions of the defendant, Benedict Dan-Jumbo was in contempt of the court, thus ruled that he stands guilty of the offence as charged.
“The defendant did not show that he is a direct descendant of the founder of the House. He also did not deny his claim to the chieftaincy stool; as the prosecution proved that during the pendency of the suits in both here and at the High Court, he acted, continued to write letters, and parading himself as chief.”
In an interview with Kristina Reports, Eugene Odey expressed delight over the judgment, saying it was an eight-year journey that has come to an end, saying that his client has been vindicated by the verdict, as the court has now affirmed that the claim of the defendant, Benedict Dan-Jumbo, was unfounded.
“Thank God, glory be to God, today we have been vindicated that the man who has been parading himself as a chief-elect in the Dan-Jumbo Chieftaincy House of Grand Bonny has received the recompense of his wrongdoing.”
“This matter today has been dragging since 2006. It began with Chief Magistrate Andrew Jaja. When he was retired, the matter was reassigned to Senior Magistrate Justice Amadi, who after he was transferred, it was now finally reassigned to Rosemary Ibanibo, who painstakingly and patiently resat and determined the matter.
“The court has found him guilty of contempt charges which was the cause of this action that has been terminated today and the punishment for contempt is three months’ imprisonment but because of his age, the court is considering one month if he doesn’t purge himself.”
“Suffice it to say that while that matter was going on, Benedict continued to parade himself in defiance to the authority of the High Court and the law is sacrosanct to the issue of contempt and the issue of contempt was taken out against Benedict and today the court has entered judgement having found him guilty.
Sentencing in the matter was suspended by Chief Magistrate Rosemary Ibanibo, who gave the defendant two weeks to go purge himself and revert back to the court on Thursday, April 13, 2023.
Counsel to the Benedict Dan-Jumbo, Ehigie Madison Omoruyi declined comments on the court’s verdict when contacted by Kristina Reports. He had earlier pleaded with the court to be lenient with this client.