A FEDERAL Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has assumed jurisdiction in the lawsuit brought by some aggrieved members of the Labour Party (LP) against Julius Abure, the suspended national chairman and three other national officers.
Ruling on the preliminary objection filed by Abure and the others to challenge the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter, on Friday, May 12, Justice Muazu Hamza held that the court has jurisdiction to hear the case.
Justice Hamza added that the plaintiffs are correct in bringing the matter by originating summons.
He then adjourned the case to May 19 for hearing of the substantive suit.
The court had, on April 20, fixed May 12 to rule on a preliminary objection brought by Abure to challenge the competence of the suit seeking his removal from office.
Justice Muazu adjourned the matter for ruling after he entertained arguments from Abure and other national leaders of the party, who contended that the lawsuit bordered on the internal affairs of a political party.
The defendants, through their lawyer Ben Nwosu, argued that the court lacked the necessary jurisdiction to get involved in the case.
In a ruling it delivered on April 5, the court had restrained Abure from parading himself as the national chairman of the LP.
The court similarly restrained Umar Ibrahim, Oluchi Opara, and Clement Ojukwu from continuing to serve as the party’s national secretary, treasurer and organising secretary, pending the determination of the suit.
The restraining order on Abure and others followed an ex parte application brought by eight party members – Martins John, Abayomi Arabambi Isah Zekeri, Omogbai Frank, Abokhaiu Aliu, Ayohkaire Lateef, Job Elomah, and Lucky Shaibu, Isah Zekeri, Omogbai Frank, Abokhaiu Aliu, Ayohkaire Lateef, Job Elomah, and Abayomi Arabambi.
The plaintiffs, through James Onoja (SAN) and a team of lawyers, specifically asked the court to rule that, among other things, that Abure cannot continue to function in office as the national chairman of the LP as a result of his suspension by the Ward 03 Executive, Arue, Esan North-East Local Government Area of Edo State, on March 31.
They also asked the court to declare that Abure and the other defendants cannot continue to remain in office as National Chairman, National Secretary, National Treasurer and National Organising Secretary of the LP, respectively, “consequent on the prima facie case of forgery, perjury and conspiracy established against them by the Commissioner of Police FCT and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory pending their prosecution in court”.
On April 17, Justice Muazu declined to overturn the interim ruling against the Abure-led executive who had conducted the primary that selected Peter Obi as the candidate for the February 25 presidential election.
The plaintiffs informed the court that the defendants had illegally replaced various party candidates in the recently completed general elections through forgery of several FCT High Court documents.