Council crisis: Court summons UniAbuja VC

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, ordered the Vice Chancellor (VC) of University of Abuja, Prof. 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 of the institution 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 the effect.

The plaintiffs; Prof. Saint Gbilekaa, Prof. Edmund Nwanna, Prof. Sunday Ejaro, Prof. Kasim Umar, Prof. 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 VC; President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and National Universities Commission (NUC) as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

In the motion dated and filed 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 1st defendant (VC) 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 2nd to 4th 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 VC in an election conducted on May 28 from parading themselves as of the council 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 for the purpose of sanctioning, discipline or questioning the six of them who are the substantive parties in this suit, as any of such as will be prejudicial to the unfettered powers of the honourable 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 new Governing Council on May 28, 2024.”

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

“That the 1st 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 to show cause on the next date of hearing 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 defendants to show cause.


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