By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN â€” SECURITY agents, yesterday, chased away from their offices members of Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOPADEC) who resumed duties, following a Benin High Court judgment which declared null and void their sack by the dissolution of the commission by Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
It would be recalled that Governor Oshiomhole had dissolved the commission which was set up by former Governor Oserhiemen Osunbor, which prompted the members to head to the court to challenge the dissolution.
After a prolonged legal battle, Justice D. I. Okungbowa declared the dissolution of the commission illegal, based on the law setting it up.
The judgment declared that â€œfrom the totality of the foregoing, therefore, the action succeeds only to the extent that the termination of the appointment of the Plaintiffs as Chairman and members of Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commi-ssion is wrong and not in accordance with the law setting up the commission.â€
But the state government, through the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Osagie Obayuwana, described the judgment unacceptableÂ and stated its resolve to appeal the judgement.
â€œThey cannot resume just because of the judgment and apart from that, the judgment did not say they should go and return. The legal process is not yet over,â€ the government had stated.
Members of the Commission, led by Mr Lawrence Ogieva, had resumed in their offices last Monday, but met stiff opposition from over ten mobile policemen at the gate, who refused them entry, following a directive from the state government that they should not be allowed in.
Dr Obayuwana had earlier explained that there were some controversial issues that needed to be sorted out concerning the judgement.
He said: â€œWhen the Appeal Court declared Osunborâ€™s mandate as nullity it means all the decisions he took were illegal.
â€œAgain, the section of the Electoral Act that allowed him to be in office while the legal battle ended, cannot be interpreted to be that every thing he did in office was legal. We are appealing the judgment and they should not near the offices.â€