A rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Francis Moneke of Human Rights and Empowerment Project Limited has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation before a Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the non-recourse to federal character principle in the appointment of key and strategic security, intelligence and law enforcement chiefs by the current administration.
The matter is before Justice Mohammad.
Moneke, through his counsel, Mr. Ikenna Okoli, is contending in the suit that â€œthe pattern of appointments of key and strategic security, intelligence and law enforcement office holders, clearly shows favouritism and nepotism on the part of the first respondent in favour of the people from the Northern part of the country where he comes from, against me and people from the Southern part of the country, especially the Southeast, where I come from.â€
The plaintiff is further contending that â€œit is obvious to me that as a citizen of this country, I am at a disadvantage position in getting any benefit or official appointment, especially a security or law enforcement appointment, in the federal government owing to this manifest inclination of the first respondent towards favouring people from the North in that regard.
â€œI am aware that nepotism and tribalism are species of corruption, which jeopardise fairness, objectivity and equity and that when employed as an official strategy in government, it compromises inclusivity, effectiveness, efficiency, professionalism, competence, the spirit of national unity and sense of belonging.â€
The activists is consequently asking the court to declare that the first respondent, in making appointments into key security and law enforcement chiefs and positions in Nigeria, is obligated to comply with the constitution by ensuring that as far as possible, all regions/geo political zones are represented and that no region/geo political zone is patently discriminated against.
â€œ A declaration that the consistent appointments made by the first respondent into key security and law enforcement offices and positions in Nigeria are unfairly skewed in favour of people from the Northern part of the country, and amounts to a systematic discrimination against the Applicant and people of the Southern part of the country, especially the South east by reason of their ethnicity, and amounts to a violation of the right to freedom from discrimination guaranteed under Section 42 (1) & (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human & Peoplesâ€™ Rights (Ratification & Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
â€œAn order of perpetual injunction restraining the first respondent whether by himself, officers, agents, privies or otherwise howsoever from further acts of discrimination against the Applicant and the entire South east geo-political zone in subsequent appointments into security and law enforcement offices and positions in Nigeria.
â€œAn order compelling the first respondent to forthwith change the current skewed structure of top federal security and law enforcement appointees by appointing some candidates from the Southeast into such positions.
* That the first respondent has consistently appointed almost entirely only persons from the Northern part of the country into key and top security, intelligence and law enforcement offices and positions in Nigeria and systematically excluded the applicant and other qualified persons from the Southern part, especially the South-east geo-political zone thus violating their rights to freedom from discrimination guaranteed under Section 42 (1) & (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human & Peoplesâ€™ Rights (Ratification & Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.â€