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Rivers assembly crisis: Court strikes out LP’s suit against INEC

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday struck out a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP) seeking an order compelling INEC to conduct…

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday struck out a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP) seeking an order compelling INEC to conduct a fresh election in the Rivers House of Assembly to fill the seats of the defected lawmakers.

Justice James Omotosho struck out the suit after counsel for the party, F. I. Adariku, applied to withdraw the suit.

In the suit, the LP had sought the order of the court to compel the commission to conduct a fresh election to fill the seats of the lawmakers who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Congress (APC).

But INEC, through its lawyer, Victor Giwa, disagreed with the LP.

Giwa, in a preliminary objection filed on INEC’s behalf, prayed the court to dismiss the suit for being frivolous and incompetent.

According to the lawyer, the suit is an abuse of court process.

He urged the court to decline jurisdiction in the case as the plaintiff (LP) lacked the locus standi and territorial jurisdiction to institute the action.

Giwa, a human rights activist, argued that there was a pending case currently ongoing at a Federal High Court, Port Harcourt judicial division with suit number: FHC/PH/CS/25/2024 before Justice E.A Obile.

He said the Port Harcourt suit had same parties and concerned same subject matter which was filed earlier before the instant suit in February.

However, after INEC filed its objection, the LP approached the court to withdraw the suit.

Adariku, who held the brief of Kehinde Edun, the party’s national legal adviser, sought to withdraw the suit, praying the court to strike it out.

A. S. Adisa, who held the brief of Giwa, did not oppose the application.

The lawyer, however, sought N500, 000 cost.

The judge, in a ruling delivered on May 3 but its certified true copy sighted on Monday, ordered LP to pay N50, 000 cost.

“It is hereby ordered as follows: that this matter having been withdrawn is hereby struck out.

“That the cost of 50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira) is awarded against the plaintiff in favour of the 29th defendant (INEC),” Justice Omotosho declared.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other defendants in the suit were Gov. Siminalayi Fubara, Dumle Maol, Major Jack, Franklin Uchenna Nwabochi, Christopher Ofiks, Azeru Opara, and Enemi George.

It also included Granvill Wellington, Ngbar Bernard, John Iderima, Queen Uwuma Williams, Loolo Opuende and Abbey Peter.

Others are Igwe – Obey Aforii, Justina Emeji, Ignatius Onwuka, Hon. Chimezie Nwankwo, Lemchi Prince Nyeche, Barile Nwakoh, Emilia Amadi, Nkemjika Ezekwe, Davios Oxobiriari, Nwankwo Sylvanus, Gerald Oforii and Wami Solomon. (NAN)

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