July 10, 2024

Court fixes Sept 26 for suit challenging Gov Alia’s Executive Order


Gov. Hyacinth Alia

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

A Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Theresa Igoche has fixed September 26, 2024 for the commencement of definite hearing in the suit challenging the Executive Order recently proclaimed by Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State.

Governor Alia had on February 27, 2024 signed the Executive Order banning among others public gatherings and events beyond the hour of 10 pm, as well as prohibiting several other acts and activities.

The Benue State Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom, and a Human Rights activist, Mr. Adebayo Ogorry approached the court over the law on the ground that it infringed on the fundamental rights of citizens.

They are also seeking among others a declaration of the court that the provisions of the Public Order Act, Cap. 382, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, upon which the Executive Order made by Governor Alia and signed on 27th February, 2024 was purportedly premised, was in itself illegal and unconstitutional as it contravene sections 40, 41, 45(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

Joined in the suit were the Benue State Government, the Governor and the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice and Public Order.

When the matter came up yesterday, Terna Agerzua who held the brief of Mohammed Ndarani, a Senior Advocate, as counsel to the Benue State Governor and Benue State Government drew the attention of the court to his motion for extension of time to file his memorandum of appearance and defense to the suit for the Governor and the Benue State Government.

While Jones Okwe who appeared for the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice and Public Order, also moved his application for extension of time to regularize his processes.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Theresa Igoche granted both applications.

Mr. Joseph Ogizi, who held the brief of Abdul Mohammed also a Senior Advocate, for the plaintiffs informed the court that “though the matter was fixed for hearing, the defendants served me processes yesterday and shortly before sitting.”

He asked the court for a short adjournment to enable him file his response to the processes served him.

After listening to the submission of Ogizi, Justice Igoche adjourned the matter to September 26, 2024 for commencement of definite hearing.