By Edith Nwapi
Justice Hamza Muazu of a High Court in Abuja, on Friday granted an order of stay pf execution on the suspension of Julius Abure, Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) and others.
Others are the National Organizing Secretary, Mr Clement Ojukwu and National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara, from parading themselves as LP national officials.
The plaintiffs in the case are Martins Esikpali John; Lucky Shaibu; Isah Zekeri; Omogbai Frank; Abokhaiu Aliu; Ayohkaire Lateef; John Elomah and Dr Ayobami Arabambi,.
They had in an ex-parte motion, marked M/7082/2023, sought the removal of Abure and the three other national officers of the party which the judge granted order of suspension
The judge after listening to arguments from parties granted the order for stay execution pending the determination of the appeal filed by the defendants.
Justice Muazu had on April 5 issued an interim injunction stopping Abure, Ibrahim and the party’s National Organizing Secretary, Mr Clement Ojukwu and National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara, from parading themselves as national officers of LP .
This was contained in an ex-parte motion, marked M/7082/2023, brought before the court by the eight plaintiffs.
At the sitting today, the defendants told the court that they have a notice of appeal pending at the court, of appeal. .
After much arguments from parties, the judge granted order for a stay on the suspension.
Following the April 5 ex-parte injunction made by Justice Muazu, stopping Abure, Ibrahim and two other national officials of the party, Alex Ejesieme, SAN had on April 20 argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
The senior advocate had submitted that the matter before the court bordered on the internal affairs of the Labour Party, adding that criminal allegations made by the plaintiffs in the case, could not be ventilated in an origination summon.
He added that the eight plaintiffs that brought the case before the court were not members of the National Executive Council of the party and as such lacked the locus standi to institute the case.
According to Ejesieme, “Our contention is very clear that those criminal allegations cannot be ventilated in an origination summon.
“The issue of locus standi is there. When you referred to LP’s constitution, the claimants are not members of NEC or the party.
They have a duty to present their membership cards to the court which they didn’t.”
While objecting to the preliminary objection raised by the counsel for Abure , counsel for the plaintiffs, Mr George Ibrahim, urged the court to dismiss same.
According to him, the first to fourth defendants had yet to obey the April 5 order of the court as they were still parading themselves as national officers of the LP.
With the ruling of the court on having jurisdiction to hear the case, its order of April 5 subsists.
The judge then adjourned until today to hear the substantive case.
Earlier , the plaintiffs had informed the court, through their counsel, Ogwu Onoja SAN, that Abure and the three other national officials allegedly forged several documents of the FCT High Court, including receipts, seal and affidavits, to carry out unlawful substitutions in the last general election.
Onoja argued that following their indictment by police investigation, the four people are to be arraigned in court, adding that warrants for their arrest have already been obtained.