A group, Coalition for Truth and Justice has demanded for the reversal of the restraining order by a Federal High Court in Abuja against the Rivers State Government in performing some of its statutory responsibilities in the state.
Recall that a Federal High Court in Abuja recently restrained the Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara and others from obstructing the State House of Assembly from performing its statutory duties, removing or transferring the Clerk and the Deputy Clerk of the House.
However, reacting to the restraining order at a press conference on Sunday, December 10, 2023, the Coalition for Truth and Justice said the order “tells it all for the discerning mind” that there has been some level of interference in the governance of Rivers State.
The Executive Director, Dr. Joyce Ogwu, who addressed the press, said it was sad that the “Judiciary has elected to be blind to the reality in the country, hence some court orders that defeat common sense. There is a place of jurisdiction on matters; One of such is what happened in a Federal High Court restraining order in Rivers State.”
Dr. Ogwu said, “As a Coalition for Truth and Justice, we find it hard to believe that a Federal High Court would elect to play to the gallery by issuing such an unwarranted court order that depicts a mockery of the judicial process in Nigeria.
“A suit was filed against the Governor of Rivers State in Abuja. A restraining order was granted that is akin to putting the Governor of Rivers State out in the open for his crucifixion by some vested interest in the state.
“It is instructive to state that the restraining order by the Federal High Court was done in poor taste. It was to serve a purpose which is not in the interest of the generality of the people of Rivers State.
“This has been the norm since the inauguration of Governor Sim Fubura’s administration. This has been further confirmed through the instrumentality of the Court, which is meant to be the common man’s hope in seeking justice. But this case is injustice.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice is afraid that the Judiciary is now for sale to the highest bidder, and the implication is that the commoner has to look elsewhere for elusive justice.
“We believe the Federal High Court overreached itself in abdicating in a matter entirely outside its jurisdiction. The matter in question is within the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court.
“The Federal High Court does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate in a matter of allocation of resources in a state. If that is the case, why would a Federal High Court give a restraining order preventing the Rivers State government from its statutory responsibilities?
“This is the reality and our position is that Nigeria is gradually heading for the abyss. If urgent steps are not taken, we might wake up one day, and there would be a court order on eating or sleeping at night.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice frowns at the recent court order in Rivers State. It is misplaced, malicious, and counterproductive. It is a total abuse and disregard for the rule of law.
“It is our view that such illegality should not be allowed to stand. It is a gross insult to our sensibilities as a people. We are tempted to ask where the country is heading with the manner of judgment and restraining orders from our courts.
“For example, the Court also restrained Governor Sim Fubara from removing or transferring the Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the Rivers State House of Assembly. What is the business of a Federal High Court in the appointment and otherwise of the clerk of a State House of Assembly?
“The gang up against the people of Rivers State has assumed a new dimension with the active involvement of the Judiciary. This portends grave danger for our nascent democracy.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice calls on the relevant authorities to look into the anomalies perpetuated by the courts in Nigeria. It is becoming a banana republic where anything goes to the highest bidder.
“The presiding judge erred substantially by adjudicating a matter outside its jurisdiction. In the eyes of the law, the action stands invalid. The High Court arrogated to itself the powers of the National Industrial Court.
“We are calling for a reverse of the court order by the Federal High Court on Rivers state in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1613/2023 before Justice JK Omotosho of the Federal High Court Abuja.
“We desire that the matter be looked into again in the interest of justice before we sink into the abyss.”