The National Industrial Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, has restrained Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, the state House of Assembly and their agents from dissolving or, in any manner whatsoever, interfering with the tenure of office of the 23 local government council chairmen in Rivers State.
The trial judge of at the National Industrial Court, Justice J. Agbadu-Fishim, made the order, following an ex-parte application argued by counsel to the council chairmen.
Governor Wike, Rivers State Attorney General, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission, President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney-General of the Federation and Inspector General of Police are defendants in the suit.
Justice Agbadu-Fishim held that “The governor of Rivers State, the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Attorney-General of Rivers State and their agents are hereby restrained from dissolving, suspending, sacking terminating or in any manner, whatsoever, interfering with the tenure of office of the 23 council chairmen of Rivers State, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
This is just as a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday adjourned till July 9, for hearing in another suit by the 22 council chairmen against the Rivers State Government. The case is before Justice B. Quadri.
As early as 7a.m., supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and All Progressives Congress, APC, had taken over the premises of the Federal High Court on Station Road, Port Harcourt.
To prevent breakdown of law and order, policemen had to close one of the lanes to traffic, when the atmosphere was tense.
The trial judge noted that among other things, the issues before him bordered on jurisdiction of the court and abuse of court processes and he urged parties to file their papers correctly.
He said that his attention had been drawn to moves by the plaintiffs to secure an order from the National Industrial Court in Bayelsa State.
At the Federal High Court, Port Hacourt, Attorney General of the state and counsel to Rivers State Government, Emma Aguma, accused the council chairmen of abuse of court process for filing the same process before the National Industrial Court in Bayelsa State.
On his part counsel to the plaintiffs, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, said his clients did not abuse court process as alleged by the state Attorney General.