Diversion of 75 ex-militants’ stipends: Court dismisses application seeking to stay proceedings

Posted by News Express | 5 February 2020 | 619 times

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The Federal High Court in Yenagoa, on Tuesday, dismissed a motion for stay of proceedings brought before it by Messrs Aso Tambo and Stephen Ebisintei. 

The two ex-militants had sought to be joined in the suit sometime last year, but Justice Awogboro Abimbola dismissed the motion for joiner. The applicants approached the court with another application for a stay of proceeding pending determination of their appeal

Abimbola who ruled on the application for stay of proceeding based on a pending appeal to her earlier ruling dismissing their application for joinder noted that what was before her was not a valid appeal but merely a proposed notice of appeal and dismissed the application.

“The grounds for granting stay of proceedings are exhaustive but must include conflicting right to justice by the parties and the existence of a valid appeal, what the applicants filed was merely a proposed notice and there is no record of the appeal processes.

“The concept is that a stay of proceeding must be predicated on a valid appeal, you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand, it must collapse, the answer to the question if the applicants meet the requirements to be granted a stay is in the negative,” Abimbola said.

Counsel to the Plaintiffs, Richard Turner, urged the court to compel the officials of the Amnesty Office who had earlier been summoned to appear before the court on the next adjourned date as they had written to the court to be excused from appearing in the last hearing.

Responding, Counsel to the Amnesty Office, Mr S.P. Johnny, assured the court that the Amnesty Office was still interested in finalising the out of court settlement terms earlier signed by the parties and asked the judge for an adjournment to report on settlement terms.

She adjourned the case to Feb 25 for report of settlement terms or continuation of the hearing.

Abimbola had summoned the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, and two others over an alleged diversion of stipends for 75 ex-Niger Delta militants.

Dokubo, who is also the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Matters, however wrote to the court to explain his inability to appear and answer to allegations on Jan 14 saying that he was attending a retreat with his management team in Dubai.

The claimants in the suit are 75 ex-militants under the Benuwolo Camp in the second phase of the programme who accepted the Presidential Amnesty in 2010.

They are demanding payment of outstanding N492m for the 75 members of the camp from January 2011 to May 2019 when they instituted the suit.

Source: News Express

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