Court Stops Omehia From Refunding N696million Received As Pension, Other Benefit

Justice Daketima Kio of the Rivers State High Court has declared that Mr Celestine Omehia cannot be held accountable for the payment of millions of naira in pension benefits from the state government.

The judge noted this while delivering judgment in the suit brought by Omehia against the Rivers State Governor, Attorney General of the State, Speaker, and the State House of Assembly, challenging the directive of the government to refund over N696 million paid to him as pension and other benefits until his derecognition.

The court also declared that Omehia could not be held liable for the errors of the defendants in the suit, even as it acknowledged that Omehia had never officially served as governor of Rivers State under proper interpretation of the governor and deputy governor pension and free benefits law.

The court added that the state pension law precludes him from benefiting from the pension scheme.

Justice Kio emphasised that Omehia never sought recognition from the state government or the House of Assembly and thus cannot legitimately demand the funds paid to him erroneously.

Affirming the Supreme Court’s characterization of Omehia as an imposter, the court held that he should not be accorded the status of a former governor or benefit from the governor and deputy governor pension law.

The court refrained from awarding costs in favour of any party, directing that each party should bear its costs.

Counsel for the Rivers State Government and House of Assembly, Success Gibert, expressed satisfaction with the aspect of the judgment favouring his clients.

However, he declined to comment on the ruling regarding the repayment of funds by the claimant, stating that the government will address the matter accordingly.

Counsel for Omehia declined to comment on the judgment.

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