The National Industrial Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State Capital, has ordered the arrest of the national President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo and three other national officers for contempt of court.
The Court presided over by Justice I.J, Essien also ordered for arrest of the NUJ National Secretary, Leman Shuaib and the Vice President Zone D, Mr Wilson Bako, even as it nullified election of the Benue State Council of the Union.
Orduen Dura of the State Information chapel had dragged the union before the Court seeking interpretation on whether the National Secretariat of the NUJ had the right to violate its constitution by qualifying candidates that had been disqualified by its Credentials Committee.
Dura had informed the court that while undergoing screening for the council polls, Bemdoo Ugber of Radio Benue, Terna Umah of the NTA chapels did not meet the 50 percent attendance requirement and were disqualified by the committee but their disqualifications were upturned by the national body of the union.
The petitioner, therefore, approached the court asking for an injunction to put the election that had been slated for July 3 on hold pending the determination of the matter before it.
The injunction was granted on July 2 and service effected on the Acting chairman of the NUJ Benue council, Martin’s Kajo at the venue of the election.
Notwithstanding the court order stopping the conduct of the polls, the credentials committee, headed by Chris Apuu went ahead to conduct the elections.
When the case came up today, July 15, Counsel for Dura, R.I. Wombo prayed the court to commit to prison all the respondents including Vice President Zone D and all those that emerged as leaders at that election.
The Counsel told the court that all the respondents except the then Acting Chairman of the council, Kajo, be exempted from committal to prison for obeying the court order and staying away from the election.
Justice Essien therefore, ordered Mr. Bemdoo Ugber, the winner of the chairmanship position and other winners in the election to handover any property of the union in their possession to the Interim Caretaker Committee led by Steven Ijoh.
The judge also ordered them to stop parading themselves as executives of the union.