Photo: NUJ President, Chris Isiguzo
The National Industrial Court in Makurdi Division, has ordered the arrest of the President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Chris Isiguzo, National Secretary, Leman Shuaibu and Vice President, Zone D, Mr Wilson Bako for contempt of court.
The Court also ordered the Benue State Commissioner of Police, Madaki Audu, to arrest the chairman and secretary of the credentials committee for the recently conducted Benue NUJ election, Chris Apiu and James Shim, respectively, as well as the State NUJ Executive Council members led by Bemdo Ubger, who were purportedly elected during the said election.
Justice I.J, Essien, who gave the ruling, however, exempted the immediate past acting chairman of the council, Comrade Kajo Martins for complying with an earlier order of the court by staying away from the said election.
Periscope International reports that the ruling follows a suit that was filed by a member of the union from the State Information Chapel, Oduen Dura, who had approached the court praying it to declare that the national secretariat of the union had no right to violate its constitution by qualifying candidates that were disqualified by the election credentials committee.
The credential committee had earlier disqualified Bemdoo Ubger of Radio Benue chapel and Terna Umah of NTA chapel for falling short of the stipulated 50% attendance as required by the union’s constitution.
The national secretariat however later cleared the duo of Ugber and Umah to join other contestants; Dennis Ayom of the State Information and Vincent Nyinongu of The Prime chapel.
The NUJ President , National Secretary, Vice President, Zone D, Chairman and Secretary of the credentials committee and the state NUJ Acting Chairman, are joined as respondents in the suit.
Consequently, the court had issued an interim restraining order against the NUJ National Secretariat from conducting the election which was scheduled for July, 3rd, 2021, and which they disobeyed.
At Friday’s hearing of the case, counsel to the petitioner Orduen Dura, R.I. Wombo, prayed the court to commit to prison all the respondents, including the Vice President Zone D. and all those that emerged as leaders at that election for contempt of court.
The learned Counsel also prayed the court to exempt the acting chairman, Kajo Martins from committal to prison.
Delivering his ruling, the judge agreed with the lawyer’s submission and ordered the State Commissioner of Police, Audu Madaki to arrest all the respondents and elected officials.
Justice Essien also ordered Mr Ugber to handover any property of the union in his possession to the Interim Caretaker Committee led by Comrade Steven Ijoh and stop parading himself as the Benue State NUJ Chairman.
He adjourned the case to 28th July, 2021 for continuation of the hearing.