2023: Igbo presidency group, SEFORP, faces fraud suit

A group championing Nigeria President of Igbo extraction is now being faced with a suit before a High Court in Enugu State for allegedly using the project to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians.

The group, South-East for President, 2023, SEFORP2023 was dragged to court by a lawyer, Obiezu Nwachukwu.

Listed as plaintiffs are the commissioner for human capital development and poverty reduction, Enugu State, the Director of Cooperative Societies, Enugu State, SEFORP 2023 multi-purpose Cooperative Society and Rev. Okechukwu Christopher Obioha.

In the suit No, E/727/202, he told the court that “despite the registration of the 3rd Defendant SEFORP2023 Multi-purpose Society Limited, as cooperative society by the 4th Defendant who is also the president of the 3rd Defendant, he had continued to use either the registered acronym SEFORP2023, or the full name of the registered cooperative society under the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act, Southeast for Presidency 2023, to organize political conferences, canvassing for the election of a southeast president in 2023, and fraudulently extort monies from unsuspecting members of the public. Copies of flyers created and distributed for this purpose are attached herewith and collectively marked as Exhibit 3.

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“That I know as a matter of fact, that the 4th Defendant using the 3rd Defendant has been sending text messages of proposed conferences and sending out account number of the 3rd Defendant with First Bank, soliciting for funds from unsuspecting members of the public. Copies of the messages sent out by the 4th Defendant using the 4th Defendant are attached herewith as Exhibit 4.

“That I know that the First Bank account with account number 2034516784, belonging to SEFORP2023 MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD, has consistently been used for soliciting funds for political purposes by the 4th Defendant as against the byelaws of the 3rd Defendant and the provisions of the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act.”

The claimant is asking the court to determine “Whether by the combined provisions and proper interpretation of sections 2(1A&B),5(1),6(1A),11(2) and 57 of the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act, and in view of the provisions of section 3(1) of the bye-laws of the 3rd Defendant, the 3rd Defendant can lawfully engage in political activities, with respect to the declaration of Southeast for the presidency in 2023, as being projected and published via several media by the 3rd Defendant.

“Whether the engagement and participation in political activities by the 3rd Defendant is not against the intents and purposes of the creation and or registration of the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society by virtue of the combined provisions of sections 2(1A&B),5(1),6(1A),11(2) and 57 of the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act.

“Whether by virtue of the registration of the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society in Enugu, and the limited number of the members of the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society as contained in its registration forms, the 3rd Defendant has the legal capacity and or can lawfully engage, undertake or organize political rallies, political conferences, for the southeast presidency in 2023 for the benefit of all the southeast indigenes.

“Whether given the engagement in political activities contrary to the provisions of the Cooperative Societies Act, and the bye-laws of the 3rd Defendant, the 1st and 2nd Defendants, are not empowered to cancel the registration of the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society.

“Whether having registered the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society, under the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act, the 4th Defendant can lawfully use the registered name, in any form, for any political purposes.”

The plaintiff asked the Court to make a declaration that the conducts of the 3rd and 4th Defendants, fraudulently using the 3rd Defendant and engaging it in political activities as it affects and relates to the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Southeast interest in 2023, is in contravention of the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act,under which the 3rd Defendant was registered by the 1st and 2nd Defendant, and the bye laws of the 3rd Defendant, and therefore null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

“That by virtue of the registration of the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society, under the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act, by the 1st and 2nd Defendants, and the bye laws of the 3rd Defendant, the 3rd Defendant, has no vires, powers or legal standing whatsoever, to meddle into politics in Enugu or Nigeria as a whole, as it affects the southeast presidency in 2023.

“That by virtue of the registration of the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society in Enugu, and by virtue of the bye laws of the 3rd Defendant, the 3rd Defendant is limited only to advocate for the welfare of its members alone, as it has no legal capacity to advocate for the southeast presidency in 2023 for all the indigenes of the southeast states of Nigeria.

“That by virtue of the registration of the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society in Enugu, and by virtue of the bye laws of the 3rd Defendant, and the fact that the entire indigenes of southeast region , are not members of the 3rd Defendant, the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society, has no legal capacity, to convene, invite, organize in any form whatsoever, political meetings,conferences or movements, for the realization of the southeast presidency in 2023, for all the indigenes of the southeast states of Nigeria.”

He is also seeking an injunction “restraining the 3rd Defendant, whether by itself, agents, servants, employees, members, or howsoever and by whatever name called, insofar as it is registered under the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act, as a cooperative society, from participating in any form or manner, in any political activities, whatsoever, either in Enugu or Nigeria as a whole, for the southeast presidency in 2023.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd Defendant, whether by itself, agents, servants, employees, members or howsoever and by whatever name called, by virtue of its registration as a cooperative society, under the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act, from convening any political meetings or any meetings whatsoever for the discussion or deliberations as it affects the southeast indigenes and the southeast presidency in 2023.

“A declaration by this honourable court, that all meetings, conferences, decisions, communiques, reached or taken by virtue of meetings convened by the 3rd Defendant, a registered cooperative society, under the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act, as it affects southeast indigenes, with respect to southeast presidency in 2023, are illegal, unconstitutional, unlawful, ultra vires the powers of the 3rd Defendant, void and of no effect whatsoever.

“An order of this honourable court, nullifying and invalidating every and all steps taken, decisions reached, by virtue of any meetings, conferences, or seminars convened by the 3rd Defendant, with respect to the discussions, decisions or agreements as it affects the southeast presidency in 2023.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 4th Defendant, whether by himself, agents, servants, employees, or howsoever and by whatever name called, from using the acronym SEFORP2023, or the name South East for President 2023, for the purposes of projecting the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023 for the Southeast of Nigeria, as the acronym and name conflicts with the objective of the registered cooperative society, SEFORP2023 Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited, of which the 4th Defendant is the president therein.

“An order of this honourable court directing the 1st and 2nd Defendants to deregister or cancel the registration of the 3rd Defendant as a cooperative society, under the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act.”

When contacted for comments, Obioha said he was not aware of any pending suit as he was yet to be served.

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