Oyo NURTW: Court declines jurisdiction on Tokyo’s suit against Ajimobi, others

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state

The applicants had asked that the governor be imprisoned.

A Federal High Court in Ibadan has declined to adjudicate on an application of “Enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights” filed by a former chairman of the state’s chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Lateef Akinsola, and 14 others against the Oyo State Governor, state Commissioner of Police, and 16 others.

Mr. Akinsola, also known as Tokyo, had, in a suit marked FHC/IB/CS/30/2012, filed committal proceeding against Governor Abiola Ajimobi and other respondents, alleging disobedience to the order contained in a Federal High Court judgement of May 25, 2012.

The judge, Jonathan Sarkaho, who issued the order, had directed that Mr. Akinsola remained the state chairman of the NURTW, and restrained the national body of the union and the state government from constituting an interim executive team to take over.

The applicants in a motion on notice filed by their counsel, Olalekan Ojo, prayed the court to imprison the Oyo State governor; the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State; and the state Attorney General for failing to comply with the court order and setting up a fourteen man caretaker committee to manage the affairs of the state NURTW.

They also called for the imprisonment of some leaders of the union for contempt of court, seeing as these leaders had agreed to be sworn in as members of the fourteen-man caretaker committee.

However, in his ruling on Thursday, Justice Abimbola Obaseki, declared that it would be tantamount to judicial rascality for the court to assume jurisdiction over the case after being served a copy of the notice of appeal against the judgement of May 25, 2012.

Although the judge admitted that the applicants had the right to seek the enforcement of their rights, especially once a competent court of law had confirmed such rights, he said that once the defendants had appealed against the judgement and a notice of such an appeal served on the lower court, the trial judge must stay action pending the pronouncement of the Court of Appeal.

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