Alhaji Lamidi Apapa, the acting National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), has prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja, to compel the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police to eject the embattled LP National Chairman, Julius Abure, from the party’s national secretariat.
Apapa, in a fresh suit filed before Justice Ahmed Mohammed, also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining Abure and three other suspended national officers from further representing or parading themselves as national chairman and officers of the party.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Apapa; Alhaji Lawal Saleh, acting National Secretary; Comrade Anslem Eragbe, National Youth Leader and LP are the 1st to 4th plaintiffs in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/777/23 and filed by their lawyer, Anderson Asamota.
The plaintiffs had sued Mr Abure as suspended National Chairman; Farouk Umaru, suspended National Secretary; Ojukwu Clement, suspended Organising Secretary; Oluci Opara, suspended National Treasurer and I-G as 1st to 5th defendants respectively.
In the latest case dated June 1, the plaintiffs sought nine reliefs which include “an order setting aside or nullifying all steps or proceedings conducted by the 1st to 4th defendants, actions or decisions taken, documents or correspondences prepared, authored, signed and issued by them, after they were restrained by the FCT High Court on April 5th and suspended by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Labour Party on 3rd day of May, 2023.
“An order of mandatory injunction directing or compelling the 1st to 4th defendants whether acting by themselves or through their officers, privies, representatives, attorneys and/or agents to render account of all monies or funds received by them through gift, donations, contributions for and on behalf of the party and return or refund all the monies or gift received by them for and on behalf of the party.”
The plaintiff, who prayed the court to eject Abure and the three co-defendants from the party’s national secretariat located at No. 2, IBM Haruna Street, Utako, Abuja, described them as “illegal occupants.”
They sought a declaration that by virtue of Articles 13 (2)(B)(xvii), 17(ii) and 19(2) (C) & (3)C of the Constitution of the Labour Party, 2019 (as amended), the NEC of the LP is empowered and/or inundated with powers to take disciplinary action or discipline the erring members and national officers of the party for misconduct.
They said that by the constitution of the party, Abure, having been suspended by the NEC cannot continue to hold himself out as the national chairman of the party, “which is privilege only enjoyed by members of the party,” among other reliefs.
In the affidavit deposed to by Eragbe, he said an FCT High Court on April 5 restrained the 1st to 4th defendants parading themselves as national chairman and national officers of the party.
He averred that despite the said restraining order “hanging over their necks like the sword of Damocles,” they continued to parade themselves as national officers of the party in various fora and meetings in flagrant disobedience of the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
Based on this, Eragbe said the NEC, in its meeting held on May 3, reached a resolution suspending the four of them.
He said the decision was based on their “numerous acts of contempt of the FCT High Court restraining order, convening, holding and participating in illegal NEC meeting on April 18 in Asaba, Delta.
He also said it was for their involvement in fraudulent activities and anti-party activities especially as it appertains to the conduct of pseudo gubernatorial primaries in Imo State, Bayelsa State and Kogi State on 15th April, 2023.
“That the 1st to 4th defendants conducted, presided and superintended the said pseudo or illegal primaries in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi State on 15th April 2023 in contempt of the restraining order of the FCT High Court referenced above.”
When the matter was called on Monday, Asamota, who appeared for the plaintiffs, told the court that the matter was slated for mention and all the defendants had been duly served.
He then prayed the court to adjourn the matter for hearing.
But Kehinde Edun, a lawyer who represented the suspended National Secretary, Umaru, said Abure, Clement and Opara had not been served with the court papers which necessitated their not being represented in court.
Justice Mohammed, therefore, directed the court registrar to crosscheck from the record if all the defendants were served, but the registrar confirmed that only Abure (1st defendant) was served with a hearing notice.
The judge, who adjourned the matter until Nov. 28 for further mention, ordered that the originating summons and hearing notices be served on all the necessary parties.