The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside its order of stay of execution of the commission’s investigation report which awarded N135million to relatives and victims of the attack and killing of some squatters in Apo, Abuja.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole had on June 27, 2014, in his ruling on the ex parte application filed by the State Security Services (SSS), ordered a stay of execution of the report.
The judge had equally granted leave to the SSS to apply for an order of certiorari to quash the decisions and awards contained in the NHRC’s report on complaint No: C/2013/7908/HQ.
The court also granted leave to the SSS to serve the commission with the originating motion, which is the main suit.
The NHRC had in its report released in April 2014, blamed the SSS and the Nigerian Army for the killing of eight and injuring of 11 of the squatters in an uncompleted building in September, 2014.
The security forces had attacked the squatters on the allegation that they were suspected members of Boko Haram sect.
The NHRC, through its counsel, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), rejected the order of a stay of execution of its investigation report on the incident, arguing among others, that the manner of commencing the suit did not comply with the law.
The commission is praying for “an order setting aside the enrolled order of this court dated June 27, 2014 which was served on the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants on July 1, 2014.
“An order setting aside the service of the originating motion on notice dated June 30, 2014 which was served on the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants on July 1, 2014 doe non-compliance with the provisions of Order 3 Rule 12(1) and (3) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009.”
It also faulted the orders made by the court on the grounds that it and its officials were erroneously listed as plaintiffs in the suit when actually they did not institute the suit.
The first to the fourth respondents to the suit which was instituted by the SSS for the review of the NHRC’s report of investigation are the commission’s Chairman, Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, its Secretary, Prof. Bem Angwe, another official, Saudatu Mahdi, and the NHRC itself.
Other respondents are, Global Rights, Human Rights Law Service, National Association of Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief of Army Staff and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The commission’s grounds for the application reads in part, “The applicant failed, refused, and or neglected to give the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants the notice prescribed by section 18(3) and (4) of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act 2010 before instituting the action in court.
“The enrolled order served on the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants described them (1st to 4th applicants /respondents) as plaintiffs in this case when this suit was not instituted by them.
“The enrolled order served on the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants is nullity.
“The condition precedent for the commencement of this proceeding has not been fulfilled.”
The commission added that the originating motion served on it and its officials were nullity as they were not certified and verified by the court registrar in line with Order 3 Rule 12(3) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules.
It also argued that the suit amounted to nullity on the grounds that it was not entered for hearing within 14 days of which the court granted leave for the suit to be instituted, as stated in Order 34 Rule 5(4) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules.
The NHRC had in the case tagged, Global Rights and 3 others vs. Federal Republic of Nigeria and 3 others, ordered the Federal Government to, among others, pay a total of N135million as compensation to the victims.
The SSS was expected to pay N10million for each of those killed and N5million to each of the 11 injured survivors.
But the SSS said it was never invited or interrogated during the preliminary investigations conducted by the NHRC in respect to the incident.
It added that it was not given a copy of the petitions lodged by the Global Rights, Human rights Law Office and National Association of Commercial tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association.
The SSS, through its suit, is seeking to quash the report of the NHRC on the grounds that the commission was biased against it throughout the proceedings of the public inquiry as it was not given any fair hearing during the preliminary investigation.
The applicant also argued that the NHRC, not being a regular court, lacked the jurisdiction to determine the nature of the incident relating to criminal offences under sections 317, 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code and section 220 of the Panel Code.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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