Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday deferred judgment to consolidate the various suits challenging the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, had at the last sitting adjourned till yesterday to deliver judgment on the suit filed by Wole Balogun against President Muhammadu Buhari 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 Senateâ€™s rejection of Ibrahim Maguâ€™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 (AGF) 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, â€œarresting the delivery of a judgment is strange to our jurisprudence.â€
Responding, the Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, who appeared for the federal government said he need to correct the impression that it is an arrest of judgment.
He explained that while this case was pending the AGF was served with 12 other cases scattered over the country with four of them supporting Maguâ€™s appointment while eight others suits challenged the legality of the appointment.
He said a letter to the Chief Judge asking for their consolidation was written as far back as July 5, 2017. But that the letter was not brought to the court, even though the CJ had approved the consolidation. â€œSo the issue of arrest of judgment does not arise. Having come to the realization that the suits all relate to same subject matter we want the court to consolidate all the matters,â€ 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 in respective of the fact that Balogun case has been argued and set down for judgment, it should be reopened.
Balogun, however, said he was not happy but will abide by the courtâ€™s decision.
Some of the suits consolidated are suit No. FHC/ YL/ CS /14/2017 between Bello and AGF 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, FHC/ ABJ/ CS/ 318/ 17 Ahmed Tijani Yusuf & an or v. Magu.
Others are FHC/ ABJ/ CS/ 227/2017 Lady 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 Mr. Ali A. Jamila v. President & 4 ors , FHC/ABJ/ CS/ 296/17 Registered Trustees of African Patriotic Youth Assembly v. Mr.Ibrahim Magu& 6 Ors.
FHC /ABJ/ CS/ 802/17 Wale Balogun v. The President Federal Republic of Nigeria, FHC/ABJ/ CS/ 469/17 Chijioke Kanuv. AGF, 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, 2O18 for mention.