By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
A Kogi State High Court sitting in Lokoja has restrained the State government and the Kogi State House of Assembly from taking steps that would hinder the discharge of the duties of the Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Nasiru Ajanah and his Chief Registrar, Yahaya, Adamu, Esq.
This was contained in an order obtained by the Chief Judge and the Chief Registrar who approached the court in the wake of the purported plan by the assembly to investigate the them and the state judiciary following a petition to the Secretary to the state government, Folashade Arike Ayoade against the judiciary purporting an impasse between the executive and judiciary arms of the state.
Ayoade is standing trial before High Court 1, the CJ’s court on charges levelled against her by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
The judiciary of the state is also on strike which was declared on Tuesday by the state’s chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) over accumulated salary arrears of almost six months.
In an ex-parte application filed at the court by Yemi Muhammed, counsel to the two applicants, sought the court’s urgent intervention through three prayers.
He requested for an interim injunction restraining the defendants from threatening or interfering in the discharge of the duties of the applicants.
He also urged the court to restrain the defendants from taking cognizance of any report emanating from the adhoc committee set up by the state assembly on 11th December 2018 pending the determination of the substantive suit.
He asked the court to also expedite action on the matter expeditiously through accelerated hearing.
Defendants in the matter are the Kogi State House of Assembly; its speaker, Mathew Kolawole; the chairman of the adhoc committee, Hassan Abdullahi; the governor and the Attorney-General of the state.
The ad hoc committee was set up to look into an alleged “impasse between the judiciary and the executive arms of government with a view to providing guidance and way forward,” It was however learnt that the Assembly was planning to ask the CJ to step aside while their investigation was to last.
In his ruling, Hon. Justice Alaba Ajileye said after considering the application and reflecting on the attached documents and the submission by the counsel to the CJ, he was convinced on the strength of the facts deposed to in the affidavit in support of the motion that, “an urgent intervention of this court is required to maintain the status quo ante bellum between the parties, lest the claimants/applicants be clogged with a fait accomplish. Accordingly, I grant the application as prayed”.
While also granting the request for the accelerated hearing of the motion, the court adjourned to 18th December 2018 and directed that the order be served on all the defendants.