Rivers APC Crisis: Appeal court stays proceeding in Abott Ogbobula’s suit

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The Appeal Court on Thursday stayed proceedings in the appeal filed before it by the former Rivers State Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abott Ogbobula

The former Caretaker Committee Chairman is challenging the judgment of the High Court of Rivers state which affirmed Igo Aguma’s appointment as the party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman in Rivers state.

A three-member panel of the appellate court headed by Justice Steven Adah in a ruling held that the court cannot continue in the hearing of the matter, as the first respondent has proved to the court that an appeal has been entered.

“An affidavit is evidence of proof. The affidavit is showing that an appeal is before the Supreme Court.

”The notice of appeal and other processes have been brought to our notice in respect of the ruling of the court.

“This court cannot continue to go on with this matter since we don’t know the decision of the Supreme Court on the Appeal,“ Ada said.

The court then made an order adjourning the hearing of the appeal sine-die (indefinitely), pending the hearing and determination of the appeal at the Supreme Court.

The court also ordered the stay of execution of the judgment of the lower trial court.

The Court had, on 8 July granted the request by Ogbobula praying the court to depart from its rule to abridge the time within which to compile a record of appeal and to deem the record has been properly filed.

Mr Emeka Etiaba, SAN, counsel for Aguma had, in his objection submitted that the record was compiled before the notice of appeal was served, against the rule of the court which requires that the respondent must be served before records are compiled.

But, counsel to the appellant, Tuduru Ede, SAN, argued that by Order two, Rule one of the court, the order of substituted service granted by the court covered the issue of service raised by Emeka.

He said by Order eight Rule six and nine of the Rules of the court, the party that feels dissatisfied with a record of appeal has the right to transmit the additional records.

He prayed the court to discountenance Emeka’s objection, a position, the court agreed with and held that Etiaba’s ground of objection was misconceived.

Dissatisfied, Emeka filed an appeal challenging the ruling of the appellate court at the Supreme Court.

Tuduru told the court that he was served with three processes from the first and the third respondents in the appeal.

Aguma, through his counsel, said one of his affidavits filed before the court was a reply to the appellant’s response to his preliminary objection.

He said that the second one was a verifying affidavit of facts with respect to the notice of appeal and application for stay of proceedings pending the determination of the appeal at the Supreme Court.

According to Emeka, “By that affidavit filed on 15 July 2020, we have brought to the notice of the court that we have an appeal for a stay of proceedings at the apex court”.

Tuduru, in his submissions, urged the court to strike out the affidavits for being incompetent, adding that the Court of Appeal rules do not allow filling of verifying affidavit of facts.

“The affidavit is incompetent because it is strange under the rule of the court and I urge earnestly that it should be struck out”, Tuduru submitted.

Emeka said will be challenged at the Supreme Court as there were declarative reliefs granted by the trial court.

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