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JUDICIARY: Court Orders Rivers PDP to Desist from Planned Evaluation Of Public office holders in Amaechi’s Administration

LEGISREPORTS NG – A High Court in Port Harcourt yesterday ordered both the Rivers State PDP and the Governor Amaechi-led state Executive to maintain the original status of not engaging  in evaluation  of some Public officers of the state pending the  ruling  on  the matter.

Justice Godpower Aguma gave the ruling after a heated argument between the Lead Counsel Ifedayo Adedipe SAN and Counsels to the defense Sammy Somiari, and Dike Udenna.

In his ruling, presiding Judge, Justice Godpower  Aguma, held that ordered parties in the matter to desist from taking any further action that could jeopardize the hearing of the suit instituted by Governor Amaechi, Senator Magnus Abe and the Chairman of Port Harcourt City local government area, Chimbiko Akaraolo.

He however adjourned the matter to July 30, 2013, to rule on the issue of jurisdiction.

The Governor, through his Counsels led by Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe, is seeking the court to restrain the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State, led by Mr. Felix Obuah, from probing his cabinet.

‘’nobody should do anything that will have effect or tampering with the subject matter, in order words, our understanding is that they should not proceed with the setting up of the committee to evaluate the performance in office of elected officials until the case is determined’’ he said.

The plaintiffs had sought the court for a preservative order based on the application for preliminary objection filed by counsels to defendants for parties to maintain status quo.

It would be recalled that the Obuah-led PDP was planning to set up a committee to probe into the activities of some elected officials in Rivers State.

Plaintiffs in the suit include Amaechi, his commissioners, Senator Magnus Abe, all local government chairmen in Rivers State, and the Rivers State House of Assembly, while defendants include the PDP, Mr. Timothy Nsirim, Mr. Felix Obuah and Mr. Ibibia Walter.

Counsels to the defendants through motions for preliminary objection challenged the jurisdiction of the court when the matter came up on Thursday.

In his submissions, Counsel to PDP, Mr. Sammy Somiari argued that there is no application on interim injunction by the plaintiffs before the court and therefore, the order for restraining the respondents from carrying out any action should not be given.

He further argued that based on the doctrine of prejudice his clients would not carry out any action that will affect the respondents.

He, therefore, prayed the court to abide by the constitution of the court.

Also, Counsel to 2nd and 3rd defendants, Mr. Dike Udenna, told the court that whenever the issue of jurisdiction has been raised in a matter, the court cannot take any decision until it has been decided.

Udenna argued that fundamental issues of jurisdiction are not matters for the rules of court, maintaining that no court of law can determine how or when the issue of jurisdiction can be raised in a matter.

He also argued that the issue of preservative order cannot be divorced from that of jurisdiction and prayed the court not to make any pronouncement pending the determination of motion on jurisdiction.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the court session, Mr Adedipe (SAN), hailed the ruling saying it was necessary for the administration of justice both for the defendants and the claimants in the matter.

He added that if the court does not protect citizens, society will be heading back to the days of jungle justice.

 

This report was prepared by our reporter in Port Harcourt.

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