Rivers Crisis: Industrial Court overstepping bounds – Experts

By Post Nigeria July 13, 2015 19:18

Rivers Crisis: Industrial Court overstepping bounds – Experts

The ruling by the National Industrial Court in Yenagoa for the reinstatement of the sacked Local Government Chairmen in Rivers State has put legal practitioners in perplexity as the superiority of the High Court becomes questionable.

Lawyers have differed on the interpretation of the conflicting rulings by both the Federal High Court in Rivers and a National Industrial Court on the last minute Local Government elections conducted by the former Governor of the State, Rotimi Amaechi

The first judgment came in on July 9, when a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt presided over by Justice Lambo Akanbi nullified the election of 22 Local Government Chairmen and Councilors during the administration of former Governor, Chibuike Amaechi.

A fallout of this is the latest ruling by a National industrial court in Yenegoa today July 13, ordering the immediate reinstatement of elected Chairmen and Councilors of the 22 Local Government, an action which is unprecedented in Nigeria’s legal experience and has placed legal experts’ on different edges of the coin.

While reacting to the issue, Barrister Dafe Akpedeye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria speaking during an interactive session with ChannelsTV said “I don’t see how an industrial court can take over a judgment from a high court, for me that is strange and curious.

“We need to be careful so that we don’t get into a situation of judicial anarchy.

“What is more curious is how an industrial court would over rule a ruling by a high court. Even if the high court was wrong, the appeal court should be a better place to determine that.

POST NIGERIA contacted an Abuja based lawyer, Yuwana Keri and she said; “It is actually conflicting but the latest judgement by the industrial court would hold and the only option for the Governor Wike is to file an appeal in the Appeals court.

In another reaction, Dr Katch Ononuju, PDP chieftain told POST NIGERIA that “The Industrial Court is not a regular court, we all know that the right way to fight corruption is through the judiciary, Buhari should not allow politicians use the court to fight against the people.

“This is the first time I have heard an Industrial Court give a ruling on a purely political issue, this is a new twist in our political dispensation.”

Meanwhile, all Local Governments in the State have been under lock by the Police and other security agents as ordered by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase in order to ward off any form of violence on lives and properties.

The reports by the Presidential aide, Shehu Garba that the security personnel have been asked to vacate the Local Government premises have been refuted by the police authority having claimed that “no order has been received from the IG.”