Confusion over fate of sacked Rivers’ council chairmen

Wike, Rivers state governor

Wike, Rivers state governor

THE political crisis rocking Rivers State took a curious twist as a National Industrial Court sitting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State adjourned till October 6th the definite hearing on all pending applications between the Rivers State government and the 22 sacked council chairmen.

Meanwhile, scores of policemen have been deployed to strategic locations in Port Harcourt and local government secretariats to provide security for the caretaker committees set up by Governor Nyesom Wike, recently, following Justice Lambo Akanbi of the federal High Court’s nullification of the May 23 council election which ushered in the sacked council officers.

There was confusion in Rivers state recently as the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside, revealed in Port Harcourt that the industrial court has issued an order directing Governor Wike to reinstate the elected council chairmen.

Peterside also explained that the sacked 22 council chairmen and the APC have served a motion of notice to concerned parties involved in the political crisis, which has curiously assumed an industrial disputes dimension.

It would be recalled that as at the time the Federal High Court Port Harcourt nullified the election of the council chairmen, there was a subsisting court injunction from the same industrial court in Bayelsa restraining the Rivers State Government and House of Assembly from dissolving the 22 councils.

Counsel to the sacked chairmen, R.E Wanogho told Justice James Agbadu-Fishim that based on the Court’s restraining order, the councils were dissolved in disobedience to the Court’s order.

Wanogho said: “The claimants as we speak have been dissolved and so I want the court to note, so it is for this reason that we have filed form 48. We want to respond to all the applications together and not piecemeal.

We want to file our response to all the applications in the interest of our clients”.

One of the defence counsels, Dr. Z Adangor told the court that Wanogho had tried to mislead the court because the dissolution of the councils was as a result of the Judgment of a Court of competent jurisdiction and not Rivers state government.

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