Nigeria High Court Dismisses Ledum Mitee’s Motion Shading Constitutional Violations
As hearing in a lawsuit filed by current MOSOP President and Spokesman, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo gets underway after series of motions to stop it; Diigbo has called for thorough judicial reforms in Nigeria aimed at a democratic climate for effective administration of justice and gender balance on the bench.
He said judicial should integrate means to protect transparent judicial officers from “sharp legal practices” and that speedy trial, is not only necessary, but essential for vulnerable citizens to seek justice against violation of individual rights and fundamental freedoms.
On Tuesday, March 20, 2012 a High Court Judge, Hon. Justice C. A. Okirie in Port Harcourt, dismissed a motion by Ledum Mitee, which former MOSOP leader, had filed to challenge a lawsuit instituted by Diigbo, bordering on individual rights and the violation of MOSOP Constitution.
Similar motions by Mitee had earlier been dismissed. Mitee's series of court motions followed a High Court injunction on April 29, 2009, that restrained him from further parading and representing himself as MOSOP President.
Mitee had held MOSOP presidency without formal elections for 14 years in violation of MOSOP Constitution, which provides for only two years in office, and another two years, making a total of four years, if re-elected.
Diigbo filed the ongoing lawsuit Suit Number: BHC/36/2009, following the MOSOP General Elections held between April 10 and April 15, 2009, in which Ledum Mitee lost the presidency, while Diigbo won and was sworn-in on the 26th of April, 2009.
In Bori, the lawsuit was secretly dismissed. A female president in the High Court 2 in Bori, Hon. Justice A. I. Iyayi re-instated the case. Then, the court discovered that records of the lawsuit were all missing.
After Hon. Justice Iyayi ordered that records must be produced on a specified date, defendant lawyers began relentless verbal hostility against the judge. The court clerk linked with the defendant, later produced the files and apologized to the court and the plaintiffs.
After May 25, 2010, when another motion on jurisdictional competence by the defendant was dismissed, the defendant secretly arranged for the moving of the case to Port Harcourt. Mitee had claimed that he was no longer safe to appear in court in Ogoniland.
On reaching Port Harcourt, Mitee introduced other delaying tactics and then filed the latest motion, now dismissed by Hon. Justice Okirie.
Diigbo said although the lawsuit has taken a long time, it is already having positive impacts on the ground, by capturing the fundamental values of MOSOP, encouraging a sense of democratic accountability, public participation in decision-making, and rationality in grassroots mobilizing and organizing.
MOSOP's attorneys from Uche Onyeagucha, Chinda & Associates Law Firm, led by Attorney Iheanyichukwu Wodi argued on points of law that the lawsuit was valid and that it conjures up concepts like law and order, security, justice and peace necessary among social grouping. “No responsible social grouping,” Wodi had said, “operates without reference to law or a constitution.”
Associate Editor, MOSOP Media