Benue guber: Court throws out Ortom’s suit against Alia


In a recent ruling, the Benue High Court in Makurdi dismissed a suit filed by the former Governor of the state, Samuel Ortom, and his deputy, Mr. Benson Abounu, against the current Governor and the Government of Benue. The court held that the lawsuit sought to delimit the constitutional powers of the democratically elected state Governor, Samuel Ortom.

Justice Theresa Igoche, who delivered the judgment, described the suit as speculative and an academic exercise that aimed to limit the constitutional powers of the Governor as outlined in Section 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The court emphasized that it cannot act on speculation and that the suit lacked sufficient evidence to support the reliefs sought in the originating summons.

Ortom and Abounu had challenged the retrieval of vehicles and property donated to them and their cabinet members by the Benue Executive Council before their handover on May 29. They alleged that the retrieval of these properties violated their collective rights to ownership, legally and legitimately vested in them by the former State Executive Council members.

Their counsel argued that the seizure of the vehicles infringed upon their right to ownership of property. They sought a restraining order against the defendants and their agents from interfering with any property donated to them by the previous administration.

However, the counsel representing the Governor, the Government of Benue State, the Chairman of the Assets Recovery Committee, and other defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.

The court’s ruling, in this case, highlights the delicate balance between the powers of a democratically elected leader and the legal constraints within which those powers operate. It reaffirms the need for cases to be supported by sufficient evidence and not based solely on speculation, particularly when it involves constitutional matters.

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