Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Department of State Services have asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss a suit seeking to restrain the Federal Government from taking further steps after the recent arrest of some judges in connection with corruption allegations.
Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, who jointly responded to the suit through a notice of preliminary objection, as well as the DSS and its Director General, Mr. Lawal Daura, in their joint response, asked the judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, to dismiss the suit.
The two other respondents, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and the National Judicial Council have yet to respond to the suit.
Challenging the competence of the suit, President Buhari and the AGF, through a preliminary objection filed by their lawyer, Chiesonu Okpoko, argued that the plaintiff, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, who filed the suit on behalf of the affected judges, lacked locus standi (legal right) to initiate the suit.
They insisted that there was no lis (case) between the plaintiff and the respondents, adding that “the applicant’s suit as constituted and conceived, is a mere academic exercise and raises hypothetical issues”.
They also argued that before the plaintiff could invoke the judicial powers of the court as enshrined in section 6(6) (b) of the 1999 constitution, he must show how his civil rights and obligations were affected or would be affected by the act complained of.
The DSS and its director-general, also in their preliminary objection filed by their lawyer, Mr. J. Hamisu, also urged the court to make “an order striking out this suit for lack of jurisdiction.”
They argued that, “the applicant in this matter has no locus standi to institute this suit; and “that this court lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine this matter as the applicant in this suit lacks the legal capacity to institute the matter.”
The DSS said in its counter-affidavit accompanying the preliminary objection that if the court went ahead to restraining it from further taking steps against the arrested judges, it would be tantamount to preventing the agency from performing its statutory duties.
The counter-affidavit deposed to by a litigation officer at DSS, S. Azer, stated in part, “That granting this application is tantamount to preventing the respondents in this matter from exercising their statutory responsibilities.” Punchng;com