Court reserves judgment in Ajaka’s rights suit against Yahaya Bello, others

SDP Governorship candidate, Muritala Yakubu-Ajaka and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

A Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday, reserved judgment in a suit filed by Alhaji Murtala Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s candidate in the Nov. 11 governorship election in Kogi, against Gov. Yahaya Bello and others over alleged plan to arrest him.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a short ruling, adjourned the matter after Ajaka’s counsel, Mr S.E. Aruwa, SAN, and lawyer to the governor, A.M. Adoyi, and other lawyers representing respondents in the suit, adopted their processes in support and against the suit.

Earlier, Adoyi told the court that a preliminary objection was filed on Gov. Bello’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 Aruwa said their application was dated and filed July 11. He said a reply on points of law and a further affidavit were also filed in response to Bello and others’ processes in urging the court to grant their reliefs.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ajaka, in the fundamental right enforcement suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/952/2023, had sought protection from court over alleged plan to arrest him.

The SDP candidate, who insisted that his life was in danger, prayed the court to enforce his fundamental rights to life, dignity of his human person, personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, 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 Governor Bello, who was cited as the 1st respondent, the Nigeria Police Force, the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police, Commissioner of Police (Kogi ), the Department of State Services (DSS) as well as its Director General, were listed as 2nd to 6th respondents.

Other respondents in the matte are the Director of DSS (Kogi), the Commandant-General (C-G) of the Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, and the Chief of Naval Staff.

NAN reports that Justice Ekwo had, on July 13, restrained the defendants from arresting Ajaka after Aruwa moved an exparte motion to the effect.

In his ruling, the judge held that he found merit in the ex-parte motion and affidavit of urgency that the applicant brought before the court.

He, therefore, 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.

“An order is hereby made compelling the 2nd 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.

“Applicant is hereby ordered to serve respondents with all the processes in this suit together with the order of court.”(NAN)