By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA- The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Monday, issued an interim order barring the Edo State Government and Governor Godwin Obaseki, from arresting and prosecuting the National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole, over his alleged indictment by a panel of inquiry.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed ordered all the parties to maintain their status quo until June 17, when a preliminary objection that is challenging the jurisdiction of the court to interfere in the matter, would be heard.
The APC National Chairman had in an ex-parte motion he filed through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa, prayed the court to stop his arrest and prosecution on account of the white paper that was issued against him by a panel of inquiry the Edo state government constituted to probe him.
The Justice J. Oyomire led panel had in its report, indicted him of corruption and recommended his arrest and prosecution.
Meanwhile, before the ex-parte motion could be heard on Monday, the Edo Government, through its lawyer, Mr. Alex Ejeiseme, SAN, rushed to the court with a preliminary objection to challenge the grant of reliefs sought by the embattled APC National Chairman who was a former governor of the state.
Both governor Obaseki and the state government queried jurisdiction of the court to entertain Oshiomhole’s ex-parte application.
Ejeiseme, SAN, contended that since his clients are challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter, the court must firstly determine the issue of jurisdiction before entertaining any other application.
He said his clients got to know about the matter from processes they say in the social media.
Aside the Edo state government, other Respondents in the matter are the Attorney- General and Commissioner of Justice of Edo state, Justice J. Oyomire, the Inspector General of Police and the Department of State Service.
When the came up and after Justice Mohammed had listened to the parties, he ordered the Respondents to stay action in respect of the case pending the determination of the issue of jurisdiction.
The Judge held: ”An interim order is hereby made restraining the prosecution of the applicant under the report submitted to the 1st to 3rd respondents or any white paper, pendingvthe determination of the issue of jurisdiction raised in the 1st to 4th respondents notice preliminary objection”.
The court also directed Oshiomhole’s counsel to serve all the respondents his processes within 48 hours, even as the matter was adjourned till June 17.