By Sunday Ogli, Makurdi
A Benue State High Court sitting in Makurdi Wednesday dismissed the Motion on Notice filed by the Governor of Benue state, Hyacinth Alia seeking the court to set aside the judgment obtained by the 23 local government chairmen at the National Industrial Court, Makurdi Division.
The Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese, dismissed the application for judicial review for lacking in merit.
Recall that the Makurdi Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, had in a judgment delivered by Justice I. A. Essien, restrained the Governor of Benue State, Benue State Government, Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, and three others from dissolving or suspending the elected council Chairmen without due process before the expiration of their tenure in office on June 29, 2024, amongst other reliefs.
In reaction to the judgment, the Governor of Benue state, Benue State government, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, and three others filed a motion seeking a judicial review of the judgment of the National Industrial Court.
Ruling on the application, Justice Ikpambese held that a court can only sit over the judgment of a court of coordinate jurisdiction if the judgment is a nullity or the judgment was obtained by fraud.
He ruled that the court is incompetent to review the judgment of a brother-court especially as the issue of jurisdiction was dealt with in the said judgment.
Justice Ikpambese further held that there was no basis for the applicants to approach the court for a judicial review, adding that what the applicants ought to do is to appeal the judgment of the National Industrial Court.
Justice Ikpambese accordingly dismissed the application for lack of merit.
Similarly, the court also dismissed the originating summons by the chairmen against the Benue State Governor and five others challenging their suspension, on the grounds that the same reliefs sought in the suit before the court were granted by the National Industrial Court, which is a court of coordinate jurisdiction.
Reacting to the development, the chairman of Kwande of Local Government, Orjiir Gbande, described the judgment as sound, saying it is also a victory for democracy.