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Court shifts Phillip Shaibu’s suit against impeachment as Edo Deputy Gov to June 28

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has shifted hearing in a suit instituted by the impeached Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Phillip Shaibu against Governor Godwin Obaseki and others till June 28.

The suit seeking to declare the impeachment of Shaibu as unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null and void was on Wednesday put off till June 28 by Justice James Kolawole Omotoso following the absence of some of the defendants in court.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, lead counsel to Phillip Shaibu, Ayotunde Ogunleye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN informed the court that the matter was initially slated for Monday June 3.

He said that the strike action embarked upon by the organized labour including court workers affected the date.

He also drew the attention of Justice Omotoso to an earlier order that all parties must file and exchange their processes based on abridgement of time and accelerated hearing granted in respect of the suit.

Since some of the defendants were not in court and not represented by legal practitioners, the senior lawyer sought for a short adjournment.

Based on agreement of lawyers, Justice Omotoso fixed June 28 for hearing of the suit.

The Judge however warned that he would not tolerate any further delay from any party in the hearing of the matter adding that any party seeking objections against the suit must do so along with the substantive matter.

In case of any party refusing to be in court, he threatened to invoke relevant laws to proceed with the matter adding that processes filed would be deemed adopted to do justice to parties in the suit.

Justice Omotoso had two weeks ago granted permission to Shaibu to join the Speaker of the State’s House of Assembly in his suit challenging his impeachment before the court.

The court also granted the plea of the former Deputy Governor to join his successor as a defendant in the suit.

The Judge while delivering ruling in an application agreed with the plaintiff’s counsel, Ayotunde Ogunleye, SAN, that both the Speaker and the new deputy governor are necessary parties in the suit.

The Judge held that under Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution, the name of the Speaker features prominently in the impeachment process, hence, he must be brought to court for order that would be made to legally bind on them.

Justice Omotoso had dismissed the objections raised against the motion on notice by the Speaker and the Deputy Governor for being frivolous and without merit.

The Judge invoked Order 17 Rule 1 of the Federal High Court and ordered that the Speaker and the Deputy Governor be joined in the suit.

The Court had also granted permission to the former Deputy Governor to amend his originating summons in the suit to reflect the name of the Speaker and the Deputy Governor as 9th and 10th defendants in the case.

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