Vanguard Lagos – A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday struck out a suit filed by Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, a lawyer, seeking the reinstatement of impeached Gov. Murtala Nyako of Adamawa.
Justice Okon Abang struck out the suit on the grounds that the applicant lacked the locus standi to institute the action.
Abang described the applicant as a meddlesome interloper in the affairs that do not concern him.
According to him, the right to challenge Nyako’s impeachment resides solely in Nyako as the one impeached and not the applicant.
The judge held that the applicant should have allowed Nyako to carry his own cross and not cry more than the bereaved.
He said that the operative word in the preamble to the Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules was “may” and not “shall.”
“This implies that not all human rights enforcement cases could not be dismissed for lack of locus standi.
“It is my considered reasoning that this suit is not a public interest litigation as alleged by the applicant. It is not an action instituted in the interest of the public.
“It is Nyako that will benefit from any favourable judgment and not the public, and so this matter does not rank among public interest litigations.
“The applicant cannot cry more than the bereaved and he has no justifiable reason to file this suit.
“As at the time he filed it, it was not established before this court that Nyako was in detention or incapacitated.
“The applicant can also not depose to an affidavit in support of this application on behalf of Nyako, who is alive.
“The facts deposed to by the applicant amount to documentary hearsay,” Abang added.
The judge also pointed out that the suit ought to have been filed in Yola where Nyako was impeached, not in Lagos.
The court further set aside service of the processes in the matter on the defendants, on the ground that it was not properly done.
Abang held that the applicant served the respondents through the Adamawa State Government Liaison Office in Lagos on Aug. 15, before the order for substituted service was made on Aug. 26.
He said that besides, the identity of the person served was unknown.
The judge further held that the applicant had no cause of action against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Inspector General of Police – joined as fifth and sixth respondents respectively.
Abang declared the suit incompetent and lacking merit and awarded N70,000 cost against Ogungbeje in favour of the respondents.
In the suit, Ogungbeje had argued that Nyako’s impeachment on July 15 was a clear departure from due process of law and prayed the court for an order reinstating him.
Respondents in the suit were former Acting Governor of Adamawa, Umaru Fintiri, Adamawa State House of Assembly and the Acting Chief Judge of the State, Justice Ambrose Mammadi.
Others were Justice Buba Kajama, (Chairman of the seven-member panel that investigated allegations of gross misconduct against Nyako), INEC and the IGP.
He argued that the failure of the respondents to serve the impeachment notice personally on Nyako was a breach of the impeached governor’s right to fair hearing and trial.
Ogungbeje averred that inauguration of seven-member panel by the state Chief Judge after an order stopping the Adamawa State House of Assembly from constituting the panel, was biased. (NAN