Council Crisis: Court Summons UniAbuja VC

Date:

Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, ordered the Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, UniAbuja, Professor Rasheed Na’Allah, to appear before it on June 13 to show cause why the planned inauguration of the newly elected Internal Governing Council Members should not be stopped.

Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the Order in a ruling shortly after the plaintiffs’ counsel, Maxwell Opara, moved an ex-parte motion to that effect.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the plaintiffs; Professors Saint Gbilekaa, Edmund Nwanna, Sunday Ejaro, Kasim Umar, Wesley Nafarnda and Dr Uju Patrick, had filed the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/683/2024.

The six aggrieved senior lecturers had sued the vice chancellor; president, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and the National Universities Commission, NUC, as first to fourth defendants respectively.

In the motion dated and filed on June 5 through their lawyer, Opara, they sought seven reliefs, which include an order of interim injunction directing all parties to maintain status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the motion on notice.

They also sought an order of interim injunction restraining the first defendant (vice chancellor) and others from conducting any inauguration of the newly elected internal council members of the university pending the determination of the motion on notice.

They equally sought an interim injunction restraining the second to fourth defendants from recognising, accepting or otherwise having anything to do with any person or persons purportedly elected as Internal Council Members of the university’s Governing Council by Na’Allah pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The plaintiffs sought an interim injunction stopping any person or group of persons newly elected as members of Internal Governing Council by the vice chancellor in an election conducted on May 28 from parading themselves pending the determination of the motion on notice.

They prayed the court to make an interim order restraining Na’Allah from setting up any administrative panel of inquiry or disciplinary committee to sanction, discipline or question the six of them who are the substantive parties in this suit, as such as will be prejudicial to the unfettered powers of the court.

Giving six grounds why the motion should be granted, they argued that the case was duly filed on May 22 and copies of all the processes duly served on Na’Allah by the bailiff. 

They said despite the pendency of the suit in court, Na’Allah conducted “the purported election of a new Governing Council on May 28.”

“The inauguration of the Council of Federal Universities may take place any moment and presenting the purportedly elected persons as internal council members of the University of Abuja would have the effect of destroying this case.

“That the first defendant/respondent is intimidating the claimants for approaching court,” they said, among others.

Justice Ekwo then ordered the plaintiffs to put the defendants on notice of the motion ex-parte within three days of the order.

“Defendants/respondents are to show cause on the next date of hearing why the prayers of the plaintiffs/applicants on the motion ex-parte ought not be granted,” he said.

The judge subsequently adjourned the matter until June 13 for the defendants to show cause. 

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