Court okays suit seeking Amaechi, Onu’s arrest, sacking

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted leave to a group, Kingdom Human Rights Foundation, to commence its suit seeking an order for the arrest of the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and his Science and Technology counterpart, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onu, over recent allegations levelled against them by two Justices of the Supreme Court.

 The plaintiff, in its substantive suit, asked the court to make an order of mandamus compelling the Department of State Services and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to “perform their statutory obligations” by immediately arresting and prosecuting the two ministers.

The group also sought an order of mandamus compelling President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack both ministers “in public interest and public morality” based on allegations of attempts to influence court decisions as recently alleged by the two Justices of the Supreme Court.

A copy of the enrolled order made by Justice Ahmed Mohammed on December 1, 2016, granting leave to the plaintiff to go ahead with the suit, was made available to journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

A plaintiff seeking an order of mandamus under the judicial review of administrative action/inaction procedure is required to first seek and obtain the leave of court through an ex parte application to properly commence the suit.

Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro, both of the Supreme Court, had accused Amaechi and Onu of attempts to influence court decisions in some election cases between 2015 and 2016.

Ngwuta and Okoro levelled the allegations against Amaechi and Onu in their separate letters addressed to the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, following their arrests alongside some other judicial officers by the DSS on allegations of corruption between October 7 and 8, 2016.

They both claimed that that their refusal to help the ministers was the reason their arrests were instigated.

Based on the allegations, the plaintiff on October 31, 206 filed the suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/857/2016 through its counsel, Mr. Okere Kingdom, seeking various orders compelling Buhari to sack the ministers and also directing the EFCC and DSS to arrest and prosecute them.

Joined in the suit as defendants are Amaechi, Onu, DSS, EFCC and President Buhari.

The judge granted the plaintiff the leave to commence the suit.

After granting the leave, the judge directed that “the originating summons, affidavit in support and the motion ex parte dated October 10, 2016 and any other process filed in this suit shall be served on all the defendants.”

Justice Mohammed fixed December 15 for mention and ordered that fresh hearing notices be served on all the defendants.

The originating summons was predicated on the provisions of the Security Agencies Act and sections 6 of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 As as Order 3, Rule 9 and Order 34, Rule 34 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009.

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