Nigerian Concord Newspaper
Immediate past governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and his Deputy, Engr Benson Abounu have filed a suit seeking the determination of court whether property legitimately allocated to them as entitlements and remuneration can still be considered as state government assets.
The lawsuit is coming on the heels of the setting up of an Assets Recovery Committee by Governor Hyacinth Alia, a move that is seen by some analysts as being targeted at his predecessor and other members of the previous administration.
Joined in the suit is the Benue State Government and chairman of the committee Mr Hingah Biem (for himself and on behalf of members of Assets Recovery Committee as second and third defendants respectively, while the Governor is the first defendant.
In Suit No: MHC/199/2023, former Governor Ortom and Engr Abounu are seeking a determination of court whether or not by the combined effect of sections 5(2), 44, 318(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the executive actions and decisions of the governor and Government of Benue State taken by Ortom and Engr Abounu and the State Executive Council, in good faith before May 29th, 2023, were valid.
The Plaintiffs are also seeking a determination of court whether or not the Governor of Benue State is not bound by the constitutional approvals made by his predecessor.
The Plaintiffs further seek a determination of court whether the Assets Recovery Committee set up by the present Governor of Benue State and headed by Hingah Biem has power to interfere with their rights to own property vested on them by the Benue State Government at all material times or without following due process.
The Plaintiffs are seeking the following reliefs:
A declaration that by the combined effect of sections 5(2), 44,318(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the executive actions and decisions of the 1st and 2nd defendants taken by the plaintiffs and the State
Executive Council, in good faith before 29/05/2023 were valid.
A declaration that the Governor of Benue State is bound by the constitutional approvals made by his predecessor (the 1st plaintiff) acting with the State Executive Council.
A declaration that title in former government property duly transferred and vested in private citizens, including the plaintiffs for service to the State or as part of their entitlements/remuneration
cannot still be considered as government property after the date of transfer of the title.
The plaintiffs further seek a declaration that the Assets Recovery Committee set up by the Governor of Benue State and headed by Hingah Biem has no power to interfere with their rights to own property legitimately vested on them by the Benue State Government at all material times at all or without following due process.
They are also seeking an Order of injunction restraining the defendants, by themselves, agents, successors or privies, from violating the plaintiffs’ individual and collective rights to own property validly vested on them by the Benue State Government.
A date is yet to be fixed for hearing of the suit.