Police bar delegates from PDP convention

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An armoured personnel carrier  at the Sharks Stadium. NAN Photo
An armoured personnel carrier at the Sharks Stadium. NAN Photo

Security operatives took over Sharks Stadium venue of the convention of the Peoples Democratic Party this morning in Port Harcourt, denying delegates and journalists entrance.

The securitymen said their action followed ‘order from above’.

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered the Inspector general of Police to enforce his order  on Tuesday stopping the convention. He also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to stay away from the venue.

Although an  INEC official said the commission’s men were on standby in Port Harcourt, the PDP convention organising committee defiantly said the convention would go on, resting its case on another court order given by a Federal court in Port Harcourt.

Justice Abang stopped the convention, his second order in 48 hours, pending hearing and determination of the substantive suit filed Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff.

Justice Okon Abang also barred the PDP from presenting and electing candidates as National Officers of the party.

The court gave the ruling in a motion on notice filed by the factional national chairman of the party, Sen. Ali Modu Sherriff, against the convention.
Justice Abang further restrained INEC from monitoring any convention pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Furthermore, the court ordered the Inspector General of Police to enforce the order against the planned convention.

Besides, the judge directed Sheriff to obtain Form 48, so as to commit anybody or group who may disobey the order.

Abang upbraided  Justice Mrs Ibrahim Watila of the Port Harcourt Division of the court for dabbling into the PDP matter in spite of the pending one in Abuja.

He said that the Port Harcourt division would have done well if it had referred the suit instituted by Sen. Ben Obi instead of assuming jurisdiction.

Apparently furious with the conflicting decisions of the two courts; Abang said the Port Harcourt division has set a stage for legal combatants to determine which legal decisions to be obeyed.

“This division is strongly with Port Harcourt on jurisdiction, but the Port Harcourt division should not have assumed jurisdiction because the Supreme Court has made it clear that when a situation like this arise, a judge should confer with the CJ.

“Let me make it clear that Port Harcourt division cannot overrule me; any party who disobeyed my decision should have himself to blame,’’ Abang warned.

He adjourned to Sept. 7, for hearing of the substantive suit.


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