A Cross River Magistrate forcefully seized, impounded and bought a automobile belonging to a defendant’s buddy in an effort to get well cash owed by the defendant.
The defendant within the case with go well with No. IKM/RTM/12/2019, Mr. Loveday Eke had pushed his buddy’s automobile to the courthouse on May 10, 2019 when his buddy’s automobile was seized, impounded and bought regardless of the automobile belonging to Mr. Edim Samuel Okpa.
On Wednesday, twenty seventh March, 2019, judgment was given in Suit No. IKM/RTM/12/2019 in favor of Mrs. Florence Innocent that, Mr. Loveday Eke pay her “N400,000 being arrears of two years rent, mense profit of N16,000 per month from January 2019 until possession and N15,000 for cost of action.”
Unable to satisfy up with the judgment, Mr. Loveday’s properties valued at over N1.2 million, his buddy’s automobile (Toyota Camry, 2007 mannequin) valued at N3.4 million was auctioned to get well the sum of N463,000. This motion was taken regardless of the landlady agreeing to the pleas of the defendant by lowering the quantity demanded to N200,000. Despite the settlement the Magistrate nonetheless auctioned off Mr. Loveday’s properties, seized, impounded and bought Mr. Loveday’s buddy’s automobile.
Essentially, the motion was taken to get well a steadiness of N50,000 from Mr. Loveday. People accustomed to the nefarious actions of Magistrate Bassey Nsidieti Bassey, Registrar of Ikom Magistrate’s Court instructed our correspondent in anonymity that this was his ordinary observe.
Magistrate Bassey who led the gang to forcefully takeover and promote the automobile belonging to the budding businessman’s buddy, Mr. Edim is shielding one other judgment debtor from paying Mrs. Scholastica Bisong N725,000.
Mrs. Scholastica obtained a judgement in her favor in opposition to one Mr. Isiaka Adeleke however couldn’t implement it as a result of the defendant is the mechanic of the corrupt Court official, Magistrate Bassey.
In a try to radicle the Court, Mr. Isiaka filed a movement asking that he be permitted to service his judgment debt of N725,000 by N15,000 each month.
In 2018, the Registrar of Ikom Magistrate’s Court was made a Magistrate, since then, he has performed the function of a Magistrate (with no Court) and a Registrar, side-by-side. There are three Magistrate Courts in Ikom and three Magistrate manning them.
Selective Judgment Enforcement
“I couldn’t pay my rent and my landlady gave me quiet notice on a certain weekend that I was not at home, I was called that Court Administrative staff were in my house, I rushed back home and was told they have an order to bring my properties to Court.” Mr. Loveday Eke narrates his ordeal to CrossRiverWatch.
He ran to plead with Magistrate however he refused to name his males off. While within the Court pleading for the discharge of his buddy’s automobile simply impounded, his dwelling was forcefully entered and swept clear of all beneficial.
Everything in his nicely furnished 3 bed room condo valued at over N1.2 million was swept away leaving him with simply the trouser, shirt and footwear he was placing on. “I ran to a friend and borrowed his car to run around, I raised N150,000 and took to him (Bassey), he directed I hand it over to the lawyer incharge of the property and I did, he gave me receipt for the N150,000 I paid, base on the agreement between me and my landlady.” He revealed.
Recounting how the Registrar intentionally supposed to exploit him, the younger businessman disclosed that: “He said the money I have to pay is about N380,000 and must be in cash, when paying to my landlady, if she says her money is N200,000 the Court keeps the balance. I went there about a week later, he threatened me never to come there again else he will arrest me, my friend’s car I drove there was impounded, two phones and other items in it were seized.”
The automobile and different properties valued at over N4.5 million was auctioned as a result of he questioned why he’s to steadiness N230,000 as an alternative of N50,000. The automobile was bought to a workers of Eco Bank, Jackson and he was arrested, the Registrar and his gang bought the automobile to another person from Cameroon and instructed to maneuver the automobile without delay.
“I tracked the car to Cameroon, the person in possession of the car was arrested. Monday morning on reaching there with proof of ownership, I saw a lawyer (Barrister Ateke) with Court papers defending the suspect, I was rather arrested and detained in Cameroon for two days, I spent close to N120,000 before I got my freedom. That is how the story of the car ended,” he stated as tears wrinkled his eyes and he added after a pause, “I went to a lawyer outside Ikom, he was threatened severally to drop the case. I tried by petition after filing a motion in Court on 17th of May, 2019 and it never came up, when it was scheduled finally for 30th May, 2019 and 13th June, 2019, it was never heard.”
Furthermore, Mr. Loveday stated: “He (Registrar Bassey) eventually confessed (to the crime) and called for a dialogue, he said he will get another car and told us that, the lawyers incharge of the property (Dennis and Mgboki) are part of the deal. He gave us a time frame to return everything but he has failed to do so.”
February 8, 2019, Mrs. Scholastica Bisong paid Mr. Isiaka Adeleke N1,855,000 for a automobile, Toyota Camry, 2009 mannequin. “When he brought the car I rejected it because it was scrab. He went to Gboko and refurbished the car, sold it to the Registrar of Magistrate’s Court Ikom, Bassey Nsidieti Bassey at N1.4 million and was paid to me in instalment.” She instructed CrossRiverWatch.
“When the balance was not forthcoming I arrested him (Isiaka),” she narrated including that “after several failed promises, I took Isiaka to Court.” His Worship, Solomon Ikongshul who presided over the case in go well with No. IkM/1/2020 gave judgment on Monday, 28 September, 2020 in her favor.
The defendant was instructed to pay N455,000 being debt owed her from the steadiness of the preliminary sum of N1,855,000 for the acquisition of the automobile. That N200,000 be paid as damages for breaching contract, whereas the sum of N50,000 as price of motion.
The Court directed that the sum amounting to N705,O00 needs to be paid in three installments: N235,000 monthly, commencing from October, 2020 to December, 2020.
After execution of the judgment was lengthy overdue, on Monday, 22 March, 2021, Mr. Isiaka (judgement debtor) filed a movement praying for an order for installmental fee of the judgment sum of N705,000 solely, in equal installments of N15,000 month-to-month. And an order for keep of execution in KM/1/2020.
The Court presided by His Worship, S. O. Oji ordered the applicant (Isiaka) to adjust to the sooner judgment and pay your complete sum of N705,000. According to the Court, “Going by the Judgment Order, Exhibit A, it is my view that the Motion of Applicant was intended to delay payment, therefore the entire sum herein is due and payable forthwith. Cost is awarded at N20,000.” Thus, making the overall cash owed Mrs. Scholastic N725,000 solely.
“On Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 Registrar Bassey called me to his office that Isiaka brought N110,000, he collected it and handed over to me that by ending of April, he will pay the balance.” She instructed CrossRiverWatch revealing that, “When Court resumed in June after the strike, I went back to the Registrar and he demanded for N30,000 for execution, I paid.”
Weeks, months handed, no phrase from the Registrar and when she approached him solely to be instructed that, “Isiaka is his (Registrar) mechanic, he repairs Barrister Ojong and Barrister Eyong car as well, so they cannot enforce the judgment, he then told Isiaka to go and bring N50,000.”
This investigation revealed that, the N30,000 the Registrar collected from her to assist implement the judgment was transferred again (Thursday, 15 July, 2021) which confirms that, he received’t execute the judgment. The subsequent day, Friday, Mr. Isiaka introduced the N50,000 which made it N160,000 of N725,000 he owed Mrs. Scholastica in judgment.
The hope of getting justice by the 2 vocal victims and others who have been too afraid to talk up has been dashed.
‘Play Ball Or Have It Hot And Be Transferred’
Several Magistrates confided in CrossRiverWatch that in Ikom, you both play ball with the Registrar, His Worship, Bassey Nsidieti Bassey or have it sizzling and be transferred. Their identification are withheld for editorial causes.
His Worship, Magistrate XYZ stated, “When judgement is given he does selective execution because of benefits and no one dare’s question him.”
“Most senior lawyers don’t like going to Magistrate’s Court Ikom because they feel Magistrates’ there take directives from him. Several lawyers and Magistrates have been given life threats not to take cases because of his interest, I was a victim.” His Worship, Magistrate QRS disclosed.
His Worship, Magistrate UVW divulged that, “He has a way of forcing other Magistrates to sign blank arrest warrant when there is no complaint to arrest whoever he likes, then you sort out issues with him, pay him and no matter comes up in the Court, sometimes people are detained to get them to comply, I was a victim of this.”
On his half, His Worship, Magistrate ABC stated: “We might be forced to blank warrants and no case comes up from them, if you don’t sign be prepared to have it hot and be transferred.”
His Worship, Magistrate LMN aforesaid, “When he became a Magistrate he was supposed to have been assigned a Court where he will preside over cases, but I don’t know if he is the one or the authorities that has refused to assign a Court to him, he has remained functioning as a Registrar that he was.
“If a Magistrate is to work as a Registrar it should be in a higher Court, not in the same Magistrate Court, maybe he is sent to a High Court, Appeal Court, Supreme Court but definitely, it is an abnormally for a Magistrate to remain functioning as a Registrar in a Magistrate Court.”
‘He’s A Man Of gods [sic] And Guts’
A supply inside Ikom Magistracy who spoke to CrossRiverWatch below anonymity described the Registrar, His Worship, Bassey Nsidieti Bassey as “a man of gods and guts.”
Recalling a previous incident, he stated: “Some years ago there was a serious case involving him, the key witness who was to testify after failed efforts to bribe him off appearing, on the adjourned day, he was swollen that only his eyes could move, after a while he died and that closed the case.
“He (Registrar) has broken homes because of eros, I know of two married men he sent to prison just to force their wives to bed, in this Ikom. Normally if you have judgement and you’re meeting the Registrar to execute and he ask you to pay, the amount you paid will be added for you, but that money even if he recovers it from that person, he doesn’t give to you, whatever he recovers he still take commission from you.”
He went on to reveal that: “He does not follow due process in auctioning, go to his house in Ikom and Calabar, you will see pile of properties. He selects the ones he likes, auction the rest and gives you judgment credit of peanut, you will regret taking matter to Court. One Head Teacher’s money was eaten by that man (the Registrar), until a letter was written through the High Court before he accepted paying that money, till date he has not paid all.”
On extra shady dealings, the insider stated: “If you get the schedule Cross River State gives for filing charges, you prepare two documents, take one to Effraya (Etung) to file, same document bring to Ikom, that one will be N1,000 or N2,000, his own will be about N6,000 or N7,000, he does not issue receipt and nobody is asking him questions, his a lord on his own.
“He decide on the Magistrate who seats or transferred, that is why petitions against him is buried. The Loveday issue is one I wept, he has settled with his landlady and you still auctioned his properties and a friend’s car. In the case of Madam Scholastica, he has refused to execute the judgment but called for installmental payment, that doesn’t satisfy the judgment and Isiaka sale cars, he owns a building here in Ikom.”
The supply who for concern of assault who doesn’t need to be talked about in print additional revealed to this newspaper that he (the Magistrate) is related as much as the judiciary headquarters in Calabar, which is why petitions in opposition to him will be trashed with out interfacing with the petitioner, “as it happened in the case of Mr. Loveday who petitioned twice,” he stated.
There Are Procedures For Disciplining Magistrates, Complain To State Judicial Service Commission – Mba Ukweni, SAN
When contacted on telephone about what needs to be achieved within the circumstance of Mr. Loveday and Mrs. Scholastica, Mba Ukweni, SAN suggested that “there is a procedure for disciplining Magistrates, the person should make a complain to the State Judicial Service Commission.”
On the truth that Mr. Loveday had filed a movement in opposition to the Registrar that by no means noticed daylight, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mba maintained, “that would be a gross misconduct on the part of the Magistrate, if it is so he should take the appropriate procedure for the disciplining of the Magistrate.
“I am not preview to the details of what is there, I cannot also start making firm statement if there is a petition. If there is a petition, it is to allow the petition go through the its due process, the whole hawk of the complain made, it would be too bad for a Magistrate to do so.” He stated.
He went additional to posit that, as regard him being a Magistrate and a Registrar in a Magistrate’s Court, “transfer of service is normal, but what should worry us is not transfer of service but the conduct … There were no Court provided, it is not the fault of the Magistrate that no Court, they are staff of the judiciary, it is where you send them to, that is where they will work.”
Judiciary Headquarters, NBA Not Aware
The Chief Registrar, Judiciary Headquarters Calabar, Edem Okokon when contacted denied data of abuse of workplace in Ikom Magistracy.
He instructed CrossRiverWatch that: “I may not have a clear idea on it, maybe after the opening of the legal year I will have to do some investigation and get back to you.”
On his half, Ntem Ikpi, Chairman NBA Ikom Zone (Yakurr, Obubra, Etung, Ikom, Boki and Abi) instructed this reporter that: “We had an emergency meeting yesterday, it was expected at that meeting if there is anything like that its for us to be informed. I’ll find out.”
Nkonang Neji, NBA Chairman, Ikom department confirmed to CrossRiverWatch that Bassey arrived at Ikom as a Registrar and was transformed to Magistrate whereas serving in Ikom.
According to him, “He has been there as a Magistrate and a Registrar, but not sitting as a Court. There are issues that conflict, a warrant is signed by him and it conflicts with the Magistrate that is presiding. He says he has power to sign warrants which is true, as a Magistrate but if you sign a warrant, send it to the Police to investigate and charge to Court, they should charge to a court that is sitting.”
On allegations of abuse of workplace, he stated, “I have not heard he has a penchant for going after people’s wives. I was not copied in those petitions, I would have confronted him, nobody in all the petitions have ever copied me as Chairman of the Bar.”
He complained about poor infrastructure and funding for the judiciary in Ikom and known as for assist.
This investigation was supported by Civic Media Lab below its Investigative Reporting Project.