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Court orders arrest of NUJ president nullifies Benue election

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Council election in Benue was nullified by the National Industrial Court in Makurdi on Thursday.
The National Industrial Court, presided over by Justice I.J. Essien, also ordered Chris Isiguzo, the NUJ National President, and three other national officers to be arrested for contempt of court.
On Thursday, the National Industrial Court in Makurdi ordered the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, the national secretary, Leman Shuaib, and the Vice President of Zone D, Wilson Bako, to be arrested for contempt of court.
The court also ordered the arrest of all victors of the Benue council election held on July 3, 2021, as well as the head of the credentials committee, Chris Apuu, and the election secretary, James Shim.
The court issued an injunction preventing the NUJ’s national secretariat from conducting the election until the dispute was resolved, based on Dura’s actions.
Dura told the court that during the said Benue NUJ council election on July 3, 2021, Bemdoo Ugber of Radio Benue and Terna Umah of the NTA chapels did not fulfill the attendance criteria while undergoing screening for the council polls.
Bemdoo Ugber of Radio Benue’s chapel had only six attendees, while Terna Umah of NTA’s chapel had ten, both falling short of the union’s 50 percent attendance requirement and being dismissed by the credentials committee.
However, the union’s national body overturned their disqualifications.
As a result, the petitioner contacted the court, asking for an injunction to postpone the election, which was scheduled for July 3rd, 2001, awaiting the outcome of the case. The court issued an injunction preventing the NUJ’s national secretariat from conducting the election until the dispute was resolved, based on Dura’s actions.
While Kajo Martins, the immediate prior Acting Chairman of the Council, followed the court’s order and did not participate in the election. The Counsel informed the court that all of the other respondents had failed to comply and that the election had gone ahead.

All of the respondents were ordered to be kept in prison custody, except the Acting Chairman, Kajo Martins, who was exempted.

The hearing has been adjourned to July 28th, 2021.

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