Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja will on April 23 commence hearing on a suit seeking to stop the federal government from deploying the military in place of the police in maintaining law and order across states in the federation.

Human rights lawyer, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, had dragged the federal government before the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking the enforcement of the fundamental rights of 373 indigenous people within Nigeria.

Justice Nyako gave the date after granting an exparte application of Omirhobo, seeking leave of court to serve the originating motion on notice and accompanying court processes outside jurisdiction of the court.
When the matter came up for hearing, counsel to the applicant, Chinyere Okpalla, informed the court of an application to serve respondents outside jurisdiction of the court.

The Justice, in granting the motion, subsequently adjourned to April 23 for hearing on the originating motion.
Joined as respondent in the suit marked as FHC/ABJ/CS/107/2018 are the president, Attorney General of the Federation, National Assembly, Senate president, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Security Chiefs, Minister of Defence, governments of the 36 states of the federation, their attorneys general and Houses of Assembly as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

In a January 8, 2018, fundamental rights suit filed on behalf of 373 ethnic nationalities and 45 pressure groups and agitators in Nigeria, Omirhobo asked the court for 22 reliefs.

The applicant in his originating motion asked the court to declare that the use and the support of the use of the Nigerian military by the respondents in place of the police in the enforcement and maintenance of law and order in Nigeria is oppressive and a violation of the fundamental rights to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, family and private life, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, movement and freedom from discrimination of the indigenous peoples within Nigeria and the Nigerian Public and therefore undemocratic and unconstitutional.

The applicant in the suit therefore wants a declaration that the military intervention, aggression and occupation of the South-east, South-South zones and the Niger Delta region in suppression of the indigenous people and the public agitating for their self-determination at the instance of the 1st and 2nd respondents and the anticipatory deployment of the Nigerian military to South-west, North-Central, North-west and North-east zones of Nigeria to quell likely agitations for self-determination is exploitative, oppressive and a violation of the fundamental rights to life and therefore illegal.

Omirhobo, therefore, urged the court to compel the Inspector General of Police (IG) to take charge of the enforcement and maintenance of law and order in the country.
The applicant also asked for a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further oppressing the people.

The application is supported by a 1,068 paragraph affidavit deposed to by the applicant, where he averred that he is suing for the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of the over 500 indigenous peoples within Nigeria, including the 373 indigenous peoples and 44 pressure groups agitating for self-determination as well as the Nigerian public.

Omirhobo, in the suit also urged the court to compel the president “to train, equip and adequately fund the Nigeria police to enable her perform her primary and statutory responsibilities” in the country.