Candidate Injured As Journalists Flout Court Order, Hold NAWOJ Election In Lagos

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An order issued by Justice R.H. Gwandu of the National Industrial Court restraining the Nigerian Union of Journalists and four others from conducting a scheduled election of officers of the National Association of Women Journalists was trampled upon on Thursday as the court bailiff was manhandled and the election held.

Hundreds of supporters of one of the candidates from the Lagos State Ministry of Information, accompanied by thugs, state officials and operatives of the Department of State Services prevented the bailiff from serving the court order on the electoral committee Chairman, Abiola Berkeley, and other affected parties in the suit.

Unprovoked, the thugs also descended on a Vice Chairmanship candidate from The Sun Newspapers, Tessy Igomu, and kicked her in the stomach as they chased perceived opponents out of the venue of the election under the supervision of the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Information, Folarin Anthony-Adeyemi, who was heard saying that he had contacted the Chief Judge of Lagos State and directed those who wanted to vote to go ahead irrespective of the court order.

Justice Gwandu had after hearing the motion ex parte filed and argued by Omotayo Olatunbosun, counsel who represented Sekinah Lawal, a contestant to the office of the NAWOJ Chairman, granted the application and ordered the stoppage of the poll.

In the suit designated: NICN/LA/248/2019, the court ordered an interim injunction restraining the respondents from recognising the first defendant, Ekene Adeola, as a candidate for the chairperson in the scheduled NAWOJ election as well as restraining the body responsible for the conduct of the election from going ahead with it.

Joined as defendants in the suit are Ekine Adeola, the Registered Trustees of the Nigerian Union of Journalists; the National President of NAWOJ, Ifeyinwa Omowole; Ladi Bala; Abiola Beckley; and Yemisi Adeniran.

The Court ordered that the defendants be put on notice.

It also ordered for accelerated hearing of the case and urged parties to obey the order of Court, holding that any attempt of omission or commission would be treated as contempt of the court.

It subsequently adjourned the matter till May 30, 2019 for accelerated hearing.

The Bailiff spent about five hours at the venue of the election but was he was prevented from serving the order.

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