A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has restrained the military from deploying its troops to conduct, monitor or supervise tomorrow’s rerun national and state legislative elections.
The ruling came as Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday accused the Police High Command of a plot to arrest Obuah 48 hours to the elections, describing the alleged plan as politically motivated and aimed at giving an advantage to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice George Omereji of the Port Harcourt High Court issued an order restraining the Chief of Army Staff from deploying troops for the rerun polls. He ordered the PDP to serve the judgment on the military for them to comply.
The judge ruled: “That an order of interim injunction be and is hereby made restraining the 1st (Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi), 5th (INEC), and 6th (Government of Rivers State) respondents from the use of deploying of the 2nd (Chief of Defence Staff), 3rd (Chief of Army staff) and 4th (Brigadier General, Steve Olabanjo) Bridage Commander, Amphibious Brigade, Port Harcourt respondents whether by themselves, their agents, servants, officers, operatives or privies to conduct, monitor and supervise the state and National Assembly elections in Rivers State on 19 March, 2016.
“An interim order is hereby made restraining Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Brigade Commander, 2nd Amphibious Brigade, whether by themselves, their agents, servants, officers and operatives or privies from interfering with the applicants’ right to freely participate in the government of Nigeria either directly or through free chosen representatives, threatening to arrest, harass, intimidate, torture, incarcerate the applicants and their members during the rerun elections for the state and National Assembly on 19th March, 2016.”
Justice Omereji hinged the court’s decision on a judgment by the Appeal Court in a case between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and others in 2015 detailing the non- involvement of the Armed Forces in elections. “Leave be and is hereby granted the applicants to issue and serve the originating motion of the jurisdiction of this Honorable court on the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff and the Brigade Commander of Second Amphibious Brigade and INEC at the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,” the judge said.