Court Rejects LP National Chairman Request To Vacate Restraining Order
A Federal high court sitting in the Capital Territory (FCT) has refused to entertain a request to vacate its interim order restraining the national chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Julius Abure, and three others from further parading themselves as the national officers.
Justice Hamza Muazu, in a ruling on Monday, rejected the request by the lawyer to Abure and others, Alex Ejesieme (SAN), for the vacation of the order made on April 5, which the embattled chairman, the national secretary, Umar Farouk Ibrahim; the national treasurer, Oluchi Opara; and the national organising secretary, Clement Ojukwu.
The April 5 restraining order came a week after a ward in the Edo State chapter of the party suspended Abure over alleged anti-party activities. Shortly after the court order, the party’s national vice chairman, Lamido Bashir Apapa, who had been accused of being sponsored by the opposition parties, took over the party in acting capacity.
But in another twist, a high court in Benin also gave an order, restraining anybody from removing the embattled chairman from office.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) threatened to occupy the residential homes of some opponents of Abure if they attempted to come near the national secretariat of the party again.
NLC president, Joe Ajaero, also directed all workers in the country to arrest anybody suspected to be plotting to destroy the Labour Party.
Declining a request to vacate the order, Justice Muazu ordered that the restraining order, made ex-parte, shall subsist, pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice for interlocutory injunctions.
Earlier, Alex Ejesieme (SAN), who appeared for the national chairman of the LP, pleaded the court to vacate the order for normalcy in the party.
He noted that the order has created unnecessary tension with different factions conducting primaries in the Imo State governorship election.
The original suit was brought by Martins Esikpali John O., Lucky Shaibu, Isah Zekeri, Omogbai Frank, Abokhalu Aliu, Ayohkaire Lateef, Job Elomah and Dr Abayomi Arabambi through their lawyer, James Onoja (SAN).
Shortly after the court order, the party’s national vice chairman, Lamido Bashir Apapa, who had been accused of being sponsored by the opposition parties, took over the party in acting capacity.
Ajaero, who was accompanied by the NLC general-secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, TUC leaders and other labour leaders as well as hundreds of workers, said as trustees of the party, no one has power to occupy any position in the party without their consent.
The labour leader said, “For anybody to illegally declare themselves either as chairman, secretary or whatever, we urge all workers anywhere in the country; where you see such people, arrest and bring them to us. The hour has come.”
He warned Lamido Bashir Apapa and his team to stay away from the party secretariat.
Speaking earlier after he resumed office amid tight security, the embattled national chairman of the party, Abure, said he was not opposed to peace in the party, adding that if Apapa and others repent, they would be forgiven of their sins.
Our correspondent, who was at the secretariat during Abure’s resumption, observed that immediately he (Abure) entered through the back door of the building at about 12:41pm, the security operatives attached to him and those manning the place quickly locked the main gate of the party’s building.
The main entrance door to the building that was locked by the Apapa-led faction was forcefully broken by Abure’s aides a few minutes after Ajaero and his team arrived.