From Ben Dunno, Warri
The leadership crisis that had bedevilled human rights group Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) took a worrisome dimension at the weekend as the national executive committee led by Ag President (Dr) Kehinde Taiga filed a suit at Benin High Court over alleged constitutional breaches and financial impropriety against some prominent members.
It would be recalled that the body had been polarised along leadership line since last year when the Edo branch allegedly passed a vote of no confidence on the National President, Dr Osagie Obayuwana, for allegedly manipulating the state election and imposing an unpopular candidate as the state Chairman and consequently suspended him at the state level.
This suspension was later ratified at the national level by members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and confirmed by its national Council who also held other allegations of highhandedness in the running of its affairs as well as cases of financial misappropriations against him at the same time.
Joined as Co-Defendants In a writ of summons issued by the court, dated August 31, 2021, in a suit number; B/789/2021, were Dr Osagie Obayuwana, Sola Kolawole, (purportedly suspended national President and treasurer respectively) and Barr. Femi Falana, the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) whose tenure was said to have expired.
In a copy of the court summon issued to newsmen in Warri, yesterday, the five (5) Claimants namely Taiga, James Chikwendo, Barr. Violet Ekumankama, Gerald Katchy and Ayuba Musa prayed among others things that the court declared the election conducted in the Edo branch of CDHR by the suspended national President, Dr Obayuwana, null and void.
The Claimants also demanded an order of court restraining Dr Obayuwana from parading himself as the national President of CDHR having been suspended from the organisation by the NEC and confirmed by the national council of the body.
An order of court restraining the 2and Defendant from parading himself as the National Treasurer of the body having been suspended from the organisation by the National Council was also pleaded.
The Claimants went further to demand a court order restraining the 3rd Defendant Barr. Femi Falana SAN, from acting beyond his powers as a member/Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) as his 3years mandate to act as such had expired going by the CDHR constitution.
The summon also contained a prayer directing the 1st and 2nd Defendants to refund to the body the sum of N5m and 1500 small bags and 50 big bags of rice being the sum of money and gifts of rice to the 1st and 2and defendants by the late T.B Joshua Synagogue Church of All nation in December 2020 for a d on behalf of CDHR which were not accounted for till date.
Also, an order directing the 1st and 2nd defendants to give an account of the rents collected from the CDHR building situated at No. 43 Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos state, at the annual rent of N3.6 million per annum from 2019 -2021.
The Claimants also requested a court injunction restraining the defendants by themselves or their agents or privies from causing divisions and serious disorder in the CDHR in Nigeria, among other prayers.