A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Labour Party (LP) and its supporters not to converge at the Lekki toll gate for their “#ObiDatti23 Forward Ever Rally” scheduled to hold on October 1, 2022.
Justice Daniel Osiagor, who gave the order on wedding September 28th, 2022 did not stop the supporters from holding the rally in four other locations in Lagos State.
Rather, the judge directed that the rally procession cannot stop or converge on the Lekki toll gate.
He added that the procession can pass through the toll gate to access Falomo Bridge and the four other locations where the demonstrators plan to meet.
The judge directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Lagos State Police Commissioner to ensure compliance with the order.
Justice Osiagor made these orders in his ruling on a motion for injunction filed by 10 plaintiffs, including nine lawyers.
The plaintiffs, through their counsel, Mr. Romeo Ese Michael, are seeking to, among others, restrain the LP, its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, his running mate, Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, Julius Abure and their loyalists from holding the rally on October 1, 2022, or any other date, in Lagos State.
They argued that a repeat or celebration of the “infamous” #EndSARS protest of 2020 under the political guise of “#ObiDatti23 Forward Ever Rally” would cause a breakdown of peace and result in post-traumatic stress disorder for them and the public.
The plaintiffs are: Adedotun Ajulo, Salamatu Suleiman Lewi, Hakeem Ijaduola, Ogunbona Akinpelu, Owolabi K. Oluwasegun, Mogbojuri Kayode, Wuyep Mantim Nadom, Dimimu Mabel, Kolawole Salami, and Mr. Wale Abe Lawrence.
The first to 10th defendants in the suit are: Obi, LP, Baba-Ahmed, Abure, the IGP, Commissioner of Police (Lagos State Command), Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Limited, Attorney General of Lagos State and the governor of Lagos State.
When the matter first came up on September 15, Justice Osiagor directed the plaintiffs to put all the defendants on notice and adjourned the hearing of the substantive motion till September 23, 2022.
On September 23, he further adjourned till Wednesday, September 28 to hear the motion for an injunction.
At the resumption of proceedings yesterday, Justice Osiagor declined to hear a motion for preliminary objection filed on September 27 by Obi and Baba-Ahmed.,
Obi’s counsel, Mr. Alex Ejezenare (SAN), prayed the court to adjourn the matter to enable him move his motion challenging the court’s jurisdiction.
But Michael opposed him, praying the court not to toe that line of argument.
The lawyer averred that the business of the day was to hear the motion for an interlocutory injunction which was ripe.
In a bench ruling, the judge upheld his argument.
Moving his application, Michael argued that Lagos State could not afford a repeat of what happened on October 20, 2020 at the Lekki toll gate.
“My lord, I wept when I was passing through Igbosere yesterday because of the destruction of Igbosere High Court,” he added.
But counsel to the respondents said the rally was not to be held at the Lekki toll gate.
In his ruling and by consent of the parties, Justice Osiagor held that the LP had a right to hold its rally in four places except at the Lekki toll gate.
He adjourned the matter till November 4, 2022, for hearing.