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Court restrains Army from deploying soldiers for Rivers re-run

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has, on Wednesday, restrained the Nigerian Army hierarchy from deploying its personnels for the re-run elections in Rivers State.

Justice George Omereji delivered the judgement in a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] chairman, Felix Obuah and the PDP.

The said ruling was addressed to the chief of defence staff, the brigade commander of amphibious brigade and the chief of army staff.

Ruling, Justice Omereji ordered:

“That an order of interim order be made and is hereby made restraining , Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Brigade Commander, 2nd Amphibious Brigade, whether by themselves, their agents, servants, officers and operatives or privies from interfering with the applicants right to freely participate in the government of Nigeria either directly or through free chosen representatives, threatens to arrest, harass, intimidate, torture , incarcerate the applicants and their members during the rerun elections for the State and National Assembly on 19th March, 2016″.

The Court based its judgment on the judgment by the Appeal Court in the case between the APC versus FG and others in 2015 detailing the non-involvement of the Army and the Armed Forces in elections. 

Justice Omereji ordered that the PDP has the responsibility to serve the judgment on the Military for them to comply.

“Leave be and is hereby granted the applicants to issue and serve the originating motion of the jurisdiction of this Honorable court for service on the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff and the Brigade Commander of Second Amphibious Brigade and INEC at the Federal Capital Territory, FCT”, Justice Omereji said.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has recruited the services of 24,930 ad-hoc staff, 379 collation officers and 37 returning officers for the elections. 

The electoral body is conducting a re-run election in three senatorial districts, 12 federal constituencies and 22 state constituencies on Saturday, March 19, in compliance with the appeal tribunal which nullified the earlier polls.

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