News

July 10, 2024

Warri fresh delineation: Group raises alarm, petitions Chief Judge

court

By Innocent Anaba

The Warri Justice and Truth Forum, a pressure group in Warri Federal Constituency of Delta State has raised the alarm over attempts to rubbish the judiciary by making the Federal High Court to sit on appeal over judgment of the Supreme Court.

The group in a statement by Arerebo Egbejule (President), French Ikada (Secretary) and Kenneth Ikoro (Public Relations Officer) said that since the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in Appeal NO. SC/413/2016: George Timinimi & Ors v. INEC on December 2, 2022, a group of persons representing an ethnic interest in the Warri Federal Constituency has been shopping for injunction from different divisions of the Federal High Court to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from implementing the judgment of the highest court in the land.

Giving specific details of the attempts, the group stated: “When the attempt to obtained an interim order from the Federal High Court, Warri failed, these same persons representing same ethnic interest approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja  in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/443/2024:  Afejuku Appearance & Ors V. INEC and applied for an interim order on July 2, 2024, to restrain INEC from going ahead with the Supreme Court ordered delineation of fresh wards and polling units in the Warri Federal constituency of Delta State.

“Again, they did not inform the Federal High Court, Abuja presided by Justice J. K. Omotosho that the fresh delineation process was ordered by the Supreme Court. The Ijaws who obtained the judgment from the Supreme Court upon becoming aware of attempt to obtained the interim order, filed an application for joinder and brought the existence of the Supreme Court judgment to the attention of the Court.

“When the matter came up on July 2, 2024, the Presiding Judge, Justice Omotosho ruled that he would take the application for joinder since the Ijaws have indicated interest in the matter before any other further proceedings. Again, for the second time, the attempt to obtained an interim order to stop the fresh delineation from the Federl High Court failed.

“As if these attempts were not enough, few days after, same persons and ethnic interest group moved to the Federal High Court sitting in Benin, on July 8, 2024, to apply for interim order in a matter which was concluded since the year 2003 in suit FHC/B/109/1997: Mr. Joseph Otumara & Ors V. INEC & Ors to stop INEC from proceeding with the Supreme Court ordered fresh delineation.

“It is important to note that the subject matter of suit No. FHC/B/109/1997, has to do with the number of wards only Warri South Local Government Area, but the application for interim injunction was to restrain INEC from going ahead with the fresh delineation also in Warri North and Warri South West Local Government Areas which had nothing to do with suit FHC/B/109/1997.

However, the application for interim injunction which was applied for while INEC was having stakeholders meeting at Warri on 8/7/2024 to formally commence the delineation process was rejected by Justice Quadri of the Federal High Court sitting in Benin.

“The Forum stated that all these attempts were aimed at ridiculing the Nigerian judiciary by asking the Federal High Court to sit on appeal over the judgment of the Supreme Court which is an aberration.

“It added that these persons and their lawyers in all their applications have deliberately refused to inform the different divisions of the Federal High Court of the existence of the Supreme Court judgment on fresh delineation in Warri Federal Constituency.

“The Forum called on the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to maintain and implement the existing policy for matters to be filed within the judicial division where the issues arise from.

“We call for vigilance by the Nigerian judiciary as these desperate people representing an ethnic interest in the Warri Federal Constituency would not stop at anything to rubbish the Nigerian judiciary.

“We call for proactive steps to save the Nigerian Judiciary from being rubbish by these desperate people who want lower courts to sit on appeal over supreme court judgment.”