By Ise-Oluwa Ige

ABUJA— A five-member panel of the Supreme Court yesterday promised to hear and give instant judgment on September 23, this year, in an appeal filed by the incumbent Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Martin Okonta, seeking to review the verdict of the Abuja Court of Appeal which removed him from office.

The apex court said yesterday that its resolve followed the importance and perishability of the res (subject-matter) of case.

Justice Dahiru Musdapher led four other justices of the Supreme Court to sit on two pending applications brought by Okonta in the case, including the one seeking a stay of execution of the verdict of the Abuja Court of Appeal.

But the application could not be heard yesterday following a protest by Okonta’s opponent, Mr Nonye Philips who was claiming that he was not served hearing notice in the case even though he admitted that all other processes, including the notice of appeal and the application for stay of execution had been served on him. One Mr I. Ehighelua appeared in the case yesterday for Mr Nonye Philips.

The panel of the Supreme Court said as much as it was ready to take arguments in the case yesterday, that it would not discountenance the points being made by Nonye Philips.

The apex court said its main objective was to do justice to all parties in the case and that no party must be seen to complain of unfair hearing.

Justice Musdapher who presided over the panel of justices subsequently issued an order directing fresh service of all processes and hearing notice in the case on all parties.

The court also asked all parties to file their briefs before the adjourned date, saying there might be no need to hear the application for stay of execution of the Abuja Court of Appeal judgment.

The court said it would go straight to take the substantive case and give instant judgment while the comprehensive reasons for the judgment could be given later.


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