The judgment that set Peter Odili free (4)

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YESTERDAY

Justice Buba who indicated that the Odili judgment was delivered in rem, explains the status of such adjudications

THIRDLY, it is clear, that the 2nd defendant has not alleged any offence against the plaintiff in his personal capacity. Rather, the allegation is about what he did in his official capacity as Governor of Rivers State. It is argued that it remains to add by way of further elucidation, that although the 2nd defendant had raised a preliminary objection challenging the suit, on grounds of jurisdiction, it never, addressed the issues raised by the plaintiff, for determination.

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The questions before the Court do not seek to delimit the statutory powers of the 2nd defendant. The questions deal with, whether the 2nd defendant can ignore a subsisting, valid and final judgment of a duly constituted court. All the points being canvassed by the 2nd defendant about a court order purporting to restrain the performance of a statutory duty, are beside the point. It would have, perhaps, been a different matter if judgment in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/78/2007 has not been delivered. It is submitted, therefore, that the 2nd defendant has not addressed the issues raised by the Originating Summons in these proceedings.

In conclusion, it is submitted that the argument raised under issue number two, Court is urged, to answer the question posed in the negative, and hold that the 2nd defendant cannot proceed against the plaintiff for any alleged offence committed while in office, since the investigations and findings for that period have been voided by the court.

It is argued by the plaintiff that the 2nd defendant filed term counter claim, and sought for One billion naira (N1,000,000,000.00) damages, against the plaintiff. It is, however, evident from all account, that it was a claim made in jest, and for the purpose of cheap publicity. No evidence was advanced; no argument proffered.

Indeed, the so called
counter claim is incompetent, and should be dismissed as an abuse of court process.

In conclusion, the plaintiff urged the Court, to answer the two questions raised in the originating summons in the negative, and also dismiss the preliminary objection as well as the Counter-Claim for the following reasons.

1. The subsisting judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No.FHC/PH/CS/78/2007 is a final judgment and binding on all parties, and non-parties alike.

2. The said judgment, being a judgment in rem, has pronounced on the status of the alleged investigation conducted by the 2nd defendant into the affairs of Rivers State and declared same unconstitutional, null and void.

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