Court Consolidates Suits Challenging Magu’s Appointment as EFCC Chairman

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From Alex Enumah in Abuja.

The Federal High Court Abuja on Monday deferred judgment in order to consolidate the various suits challenging the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, had at the last sitting adjourned till Monday to deliver judgment on the suit filed by Wole Balogun against the President Federal Republic of Nigeria and four others challenging the appointment of Magu as EFCC Chairman.

But Justice Nyako rather ordered the consolidation of 12 other suits filed by individuals and corporate organisations seeking either the removal of Magu from office or affirming his appointment by the President.

All the suits arose following the Senate’s rejection of Ibrahim Magu’s nomination for appointment as the substantive chairman of the commission.

The judge told litigants that the court had received two applications from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and one other defendant seeking for an adjournment and also praying the court to consolidate all suits relating to the appointment of Magu.

Reacting, plaintiff claimed that the matter was adjourned for judgment, adding that, “arresting the delivery of a judgment is strange to our jurisprudence.”

Responding, the Solicitor General of the Federation Dayo Apata who appeared for the Federal Government said he needed to correct the impression that it was an arrest of judgment.

He explained that while the case was pending, the Attorney General was served with 12 other cases scattered over the country with four of them supporting Magu’s appointment while eight others suits challenged the legality of the appointment.

He said that a letter to the Chief Judge asking for their consolidation was written as far back as July 5, 2017. But the letter was not brought to the court, even though the CJ had approved the consolidation.

“So the issue of arrest of judgment does not arise. Having come to the realisation that the suits all relate to same subject matter we want the court to consolidate all the matters”, he said.

The judge agreed that there was a break in communication. She said it would be better to consolidate the suits in order to prevent giving contradictory judgments on suits that have similar facts, same defendants although different plaintiffs.

She said that irrespective of the fact that Balogun’s case had been argued and set down for judgment, it should be reopened.

Balogun, however, said that he was not happy but would abide by the court’s decision.

Some of the suits consolidated include suit No. FHC/ YL/ CS /14/2017 between Barr. Bello and Hon. Attorney of the Federation pending at FHC Abuja, FHC / KN/ CS/ 59/ 17 Abubakar Sani vs the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, FHC/ABJ/ CS/278/2017 Jibrin Samuel Okutepa SAN v. the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, FHC/ ABJ/ CS/ 318/ 17 Ahmed Tijani Yusuf Esq. & an or v. Ibrahim Magu.

Others are FHC/ ABJ/ CS/ 227/2017 Lady (Barr.) Chidimma Udebani v. the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria & ors.; FHC ABJ/ CS/ 374/17 The Incorporated Trustees of Justice Mission International v. Attorney General of the Federation.; FHC/ ABJ/ CS/ 378/ 17 Barr. Ali A. Jamila v. President Federal Republic of Nigeria & 4 ors; and FHC/ABJ/ CS/ 296/17 Registered Trustees of African Patriotic Youth Assembly v. Mr.Ibrahim Magu& 6 ors.

Others include FHC /ABJ/ CS/ 802/17 Wale Balogun v. The President Federal Republic of Nigeria; FHC/ABJ/ CS/ 469/17 Chijioke Kanu v. Honourable Attorney General of the Federation; and FHC/ ABJ/ CS/159/17 Johnmary Chukwukasi Jideobi v. The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and one other case.

The matter has been adjournment to June 27 for mention.