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Family Member Drags SAN To Court in Enugu Over Protracted Family Feud

AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN), Mr. Ambrose Maduabuchi, from Achi, Oji River Council area of Enugu state, has been dragged to court by his In-law, an Octogenarian and Senior retired Federal Civil Servant, Chief Joseph Chuks Elobuike, over the top legal officer’s refusal to bring home the remains of his late daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.

Contrary to Igbo tradition and customs, Maduabuchi, and family, according to Chief Elobuike, had denied them access to the remains of their late daughter in- law, Mrs.  Nnenna Elobuike and their three children, even when she was duly and legally married to their late son, Robert Elobuike.

Chief Elobuike, in the suit, said the (SAN) popularly known as (Oba), locked him and his family members out on relevant information concerning the upkeep and whereabouts of his deceased daughter in-law, Nnenna and his three grandchildren whom were products of the marriage that existed between his now deceased son, Robert Elobuike and Nnenna Maduabuchi after their holy matrimony in December 2008.

African Examiner gathered from a source close to the Elobuike’s that trouble started  when in an ensuing marital crisis between late Nnenna and Robert, the former ran away from her matrimonial home with the their three kids, leaving behind her husband who was overwhelmed by the domestic crisis.

As the matter lingered without any solution, Nnenna’s mother, Mrs. Obiageli Maduabuchi, had one day stormed Robert’s matrimonial home in Enugu on Sunday, October 7, 2012, in company of two women said to be the husband’s sister and niece, two men and Nnenna’s two brothers. 

According to the source, the uninvited guests, made away with Robert’s properties which was loaded in a waiting truck parked outside the premises of his apartment.

The source said since Mrs Maduabuchi and her gang left that faithful Sunday, October 7, 2012, with her daughter and Robert’s property, the son in-law never set his eyes on neither his wife nor children, even as he was not allowed access to them until his unfortunate demise on December 6, 2016, during a brief illness.

It was learnt that throughout the period Robert, who worked as a banker, was hospitalized at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Itiku Ozalla, Enugu, neither his estranged wife Nnenna, his Children nor any member of his in-law’s family visited him at the hospital, despite several calls and messages, informing her about her husband’s failing health  condition. 

Nnenna also refused to make herself available to receive the death certificate of her husband when she was informed about his sudden demise 

Robert, fondly called (Bob) by friends and close associate, was eventually committed to mother Earth on December 15, 2016, without the presence of his wife, children nor any representative from his In-laws  family as they all refused to grace or participate in the funeral ceremony .

 It was learnt that Mr Maduabuchi, who has not been communicating with his in-laws had on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, called Chief Elobuike on the phone to inform him that his daughter-in-law, Nnenna, had also died.

He told his in-law, that their Daughter in law had tumour in the head, and promised to visit his in-law to discuss in details  about the death, “a promise he never fulfill till date. said  the Source.

“SAN never fulfilled any of such promise, and when contacted, he blamed the COVID-19 lockdown as reasons for his inability to visit Chief Elobuike as promised.

Despite all he did, Mr Maduabuchi, left Chief Elobuike in the lurch and began making her daughter’s burial arrangement with one Osita Okechukwu and Calistus Mgboh. 

The source said “when Chief Elobuike learnt of this, he was angered and cautioned Maduabuchi against any discussion or arrangement for burial at his place with anyone other than himself being the father to the son marrying the deceased (Nnenna). 

Elobuike, thereafter, insisted that for the burial to take place at his native home, as demanded by custom, his in-law, Maduabuchi, must produce the corpse of the deceased and the three children must come home and receive their mother’s remains and not attending her funeral like visitors.

Angered by the manner the SAN treated him and his family, Chief Elobuike, has filed 

a lawsuit against Maduabuchi, with several arguments, alluding to the fact that his in-law had refused to comply with the dictates of custom and voice of reason.

Chief Elobuike argued that as tradition demands, Nnenna, the deceased daughter-in-law who hails from Ehuhe-Achi in Oji River Council area of Enugu state,  must be buried at her place of marriage, which is late Robert Elobuike’s compound in Eke, Udi local government council.

However, there strong indication that Maduabuchi may have buried Nnenna in his country home at Oji River instead of her husband’s hometown, Eke, in Udi LGA. 

To give credence to the speculation making the rounds  that Nnenna’s remains may have been buried at her father’s compound, the SAN, had in a massage he sent to counsel to the defendant, Barrister Ray Nnaji, said that he is going to bury his daughter’s corpse where her husband came from, but unfortunately, he carried the corpse and buried it at Ehuhe-Achi, his own hometown on the 4th of September, 2020, Nnaji ssid.

Barrister Nnaji, said  that his client, had even engaged Maduabuchi’s traditional ruler, Igwe Egwuatu and the traditional ruler of Eke, Igwe H.C Onuoha, both from Oji River LGA and Udi LGA, respectively, to mediate and broker a lasting peace to the lingering crisis.

“But Maduabuchi, according to him, refused to heed to the counsels of the monarchs.

The plaintiff however, said he approached the court for it to determine which customs should regulate the relationship of the two parties in a situation whereby the children are still in the custody of the defendant. 

 Besides, the plaintiff is equally praying the court to determine where the corpse of his son’s wife and daughter-in-law, Nnenna Elobuike should be buried.

Our correspondent reports that  the suit was initially filed at Eziagu High Court, but due to issue of jurisdiction, the plaintiff had to withdraw the case and file it at the Enugu State High Court, on 21st of September, 2020 when the matter came up in the court.

It was learnt that on that particular day, Mr. Maduabuchi was secretly represented by one Barrister Dom Ezeani, who submitted that the matter can be settled out of court, a submission lawyers to the plaintiff objected, citing various acts of the SANS reneging in  agreements reached. 

They Plaintiff counsels, raised the issue of  the burial which they argued, has destroyed any chance of peaceful settlement outside Court. 

Justice Nwobodo, thereafter, transferred the matter to Oji High Court, citing customary content.

But  when the matter came up Monday,16th November, 2020 for mention at the Oji River State High Court, the presiding judge, Justice CVC Ezeugwu, denied the jurisdiction of the court to treat such matter as the matter wasn’t properly rooted to him by the Chief Judge of the state.

According to him, what was involved is the custom of the parties of which, the custom of the plaintiff’s son, Robert Elobuike takes precedent.

In this case, according to the judge, the Udi High Court which is domiciled in Enugu State High Court should handle the matter.

He added that the matter would be transferred to the Chief Judge for reassignment, saying he would only handle the matter if eventually reassigned back to him.

Justice Ezeugwu also noted that the defendant, Mr. Maduabuchi has never appeared in the cases previously and that the method of service was by substitution. 

The lawyer to the plaintiff informed the Judge that “Mr. Maduabuchi, SAN, was duly served and there is also an affidavit to that effect, saying  “when the time comes we will establish the fact that he was served accordingly.

The outspoken Barrister Ray Nnaji, was a former Commissioner for youths and sports in Enugu state, and one time National Auditor of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. 


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