The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja yesterday dismissed the preliminary objection challenging the competence of appeal, set aside the order to maintain status quo and the order for substituted service made in their Favour, both granted by the High court of Rivers State, Coram. Hon. Justice. Ben- Whyte, judge on the 2/8/21 for being a nullity and without jurisdiction.
The court of appeal however directed that the case file be remitted to the Chief Judge of Rivers State for re-assignment to another Judge and the claimants should take steps to ensure that the writ/originating summons be properly endorsed in line with the law, to be served in Abuja and not in Port Harcourt as they wrongly did in this case.
The legal implications of the foregoing are inter alia as follows:
- In the eyes of the law, there was never an order made to maintain status quo.
- No originating process (writ/originating summons) regarding that suit has been served on us, so we are unaware of the institution of such a suit.
- To activate the suit to be heard before the High court, they need to first comply with the proper endorsement to be served outside jurisdiction, in Abuja.
- This process which in accordance with the law ought to have been done before the writ is issued.
Recall that one Stephen Wonnah & 6 others had filed a suit at the Rivers State high court with suit No: PHC/1857/ CS/2021 Stopping the local Government and state congress in the state.