Amajor crisis has hit Labour Party (LP) as a court yesterday suspended its National Chairman Julius Abure.

Three other key members of the National Working Committee —National Secretary, Alhaji Farouk Ibrahim; National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara; National Organising Secretary, Clement Ojukwu and—were also stopped from parading themselves as officials of the party by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Maitama, Abuja.

The LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi came third in the February 25th presidential election, winning over six million votes.

Justice Hamza Muazu, in a ruling, held that the restraining order made ex-parte, shall subsist, pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice for interlocutory injunctions.

The ruling was on a motion ex-parte marked: M/7082/2023 filed along with the substantive suit instituted by the eight aggrieved members, including the Chairman of the party in Abure’s ward – Ward 03, Arue, Esan North-East Local Government of Edo State, Martins Esikpali John O. and the party’s Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Arabambi.

The eight plaintiffs, who raised allegations of corruption, perjury and forgery against the four national officers of the party, are contending among others, that their continued stay in office is detrimental to what the party stands for and the interest of its many supporters.

Justice Muazu said having read the motion supporting affidavit and accompanying documents, and listening to the lawyer to the applicants, he was convinced that the motion was meritorious and ought to be granted.

The judge issued “an order of interim injunction restraining the 1st to 4th defendants (Abure, Ibrahim, Opara and Ojukwu), their agents, privies, servants, employees and representatives’ whatsoever and howsoever described from parading themselves as the National Chairman, National Secretary, National Treasurer and National Organising Secretary of the 5th 

defendant (LP), pending the determination of the motion on notice.”

Justice Muazu also issued an order abridging the time within which the defendants shall enter appearance to the originating summons and file their defence and other relevant processes from 42 days to eight days. 

He also granted accelerated hearing of the suit and adjourned till April 17 for hearing.

Other plaintiffs in the case are: Lucky Shaibu, Isah Zekeri, Omogbai Frank, Abokhaiu Aliu, Ayohkaire Lateef and Joe Elomah.

In a supporting affidavit, the plaintiffs stated that upon their complaint to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), policemen “conducted investigation into the matter and indicted the 1st to 4th defendants as having established a prima facie case of forgery, perjuring and conspiracy against them”.

Arabambi, in the supporting affidavit, said he applied for the certified true copies (CTC) of the police investigation report on March 6, 2023, adding that by a letter from the Office of the Commissioner of Police, F.C.T Command, dated March 9, 2023, a CTC of the police report was given to him and in which the 1st to 4th defendants “were criminally indicted for forgery, perjury and conspiracy”. 

Arabambi added: “I also received a certified true copy of a disclaimer from the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, dated 8th November, 2022 wherein, the court denied ever issuing any affidavit sworm to by Imaseun Paul Murphy on 8th July, 2022 of his intention to withdraw his candidacy on the platform of the 5th defendant (LP) for the 2023 election into the Federal House of Representatives. 

“As a result of the criminal activities of the 1st defendant (Abure), in collaboration with the 2nd to 4th defendants, the Ward Executive of the 5th Defendant in Ward 03, Arue, Esan, North East Local Government Area, Edo State passed a resolution on the 31st March, 2023 suspending the 1st defendant from the 5th defendant.  

“Inspite of the suspension of the 1st defendant for forgery, perjury and anti-party activities and conspiracy, in line with the constitution of the 5th defendant, as well as indictment of the 1st defendant by the police, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants have continued to parade themselves as the National Executives of the 5th defendant. 

“By the indictment of the 1st to 4th defendants by the police as weil as the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, the 1st to 4th defendants lack the vires; moral and legal standing to continue to act as the executives of the 5th defendant.”

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