Alleged corruption: Court extends order stopping Obaseki from arresting Oshiomhole

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Edozie Udeojo, Abuja

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, extended the interim order barring Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State from arresting Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the suspended National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), over his alleged indictment by a panel of inquiry.

The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed ordered all parties in the matter to stay action till June 29, 2020, when the court will hear a motion challenging its jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by Oshiomhole for the protection of his fundamental human rights.

Joined with Governor Obaseki as respondents are the Edo State government, the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice of Edo State, chairman of the panel of inquiry, Justice J. Oyomire, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Department of State Service (DSS).

The court had, in a ruling on June 1, restrained both Governor Obaseki and the other respondents from taking steps to arrest Oshiomhole who is a former governor of the state, over the report of the Justice Oyomire-panel that indicted him for corruption and diversion of public funds.

Justice Mohammed directed the parties to maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the issue of jurisdiction.

The interim order followed an ex-parte application by Oshiomhole wherein he had prayed the court to stop his arrest and. prosecution on account of a White Paper that was issued against him by the panel of inquiry the Edo State government constituted to probe him.

Meanwhile, when the matter came up on Wednesday, Oshiomhole’s counsel, Mr Ehioge West-Idahosa, notified the court that he filed a counter-affidavit to dismiss the preliminary objection the respondents raised against the suit and that the said counter-affidavit has been served on all the respondents, except the sixth respondent.

Counsel to the first to fourth respondents, Mr Kingsley Idahosa, confirmed that the processes were served on him before the court proceedings commenced on Wednesday and prayed the court for time to study the counter-affidavit with a view to identifying areas that would require his clients to respond.

In a related development, The leading aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu on Wednesday thanked another aspirant Osaro Obazee for bowing out of the governorship race and declaring support for his emergence as the primary election draws near.

Obazee was one of the three aspirants cleared by the APC Screening Committee to participate in the party’s primary scheduled for June 22. However, he announced yesterday his decision to step down from the race and endorse Pastor Ize-Iyamu.

He pledged his support, alongside that of his followers, to the former Secretary to the State Government who is widely predicted to emerge as the flagbearer.

In his reaction, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, speaking through a statement signed by Prince John Mayaki, the Director of Communication and Media of his Campaign Organisation, expressed gratitude to Osaro Obazee and described his support as another “important boost” for his aspiration days before the primary election.

He said: “Hon. Osaro Obazee is a fine politician whose entrance into the race no doubt injected more life and excitement. He campaigned from his heart and took his message to members and followers of our party across the state. I am grateful to him for his endorsement and very confident that it will provide an important boost to our bid as we approach the primary election of our great party.”

Pastor Ize-Iyamu also received the endorsement of all serving members of the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress earlier this week.

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