On Monday, the Abuja Federal High Court reserved judgment in a suit filed by Murtala Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party’s candidate in the November 11 governorship election in Kogi, against Governor Yahaya Bello and others over an alleged plan to arrest him.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a short ruling, adjourned the matter after Mr Ajaka’s counsel, SE Aruwa, and lawyer to the Kogi governor, AM Adoyi, and other lawyers representing respondents in the suit, adopted their processes in support and against the suit.
Mr Adoyi told the court that a preliminary objection was filed on the governor’s behalf on July 19 with a written address. Besides, the lawyer, who said a counter affidavit was also filed, urged the court to strike out the suit for want of jurisdiction.
But Mr Aruwa said their application was dated and filed July 11. He said a reply on points of law and a further affidavit was also filed in response to Mr Bello and others’ processes in urging the court to grant their reliefs.
Mr Ajaka, in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/952/2023, had sought protection from the court over an alleged plan to arrest him.
The SDP candidate, who insisted that his life was in danger, urged the court to enforce his fundamental rights to life, dignity of his human person, personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and freedom of movement, among others.
He anchored the suit on Sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as on Articles 2, 3, 4. 5, 6, 7(1), 10(1), 11(1), 12(1), 13 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP A9, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
Aside from Mr Bello, cited as the first respondent, the police, the inspector general of police, the police commissioner (in Kogi), and the State Security Service (SSS), as its director-general, were listed as second to sixth respondents.
Other respondents are the SSS director (in Kogi), the commandant-general of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the chief of defence staff, the chief of army staff, and the chief of naval staff.
Mr Ekwo had, on July 13, restrained the defendants from arresting Mr Ajaka after Mr Aruwa moved an ex parte motion to the effect.
In his ruling, the judge held that he found merit in the ex-parte motion and the applicant’s affidavit of urgency before the court.
He issued an order “restraining the respondents, their agents, servants and anybody acting through or under them from arresting, inviting, detaining or threatening the applicant’s life and property pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit,” compelling the second to 11th respondents to immediately provide maximum security to the applicant in Abuja, FCT, Kogi State and elsewhere in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”
The judge added, “Applicant is hereby ordered to serve respondents with all the processes in this suit together with the order of court.”