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Lawyer sues FG, others for allegedly denying citizens access to court

By Omolabake Ohu
16 November 2021   |   2:46 am
Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, has sued the Federal Government and five others for allegedly denying lawyers and litigants access to the court during Kanu’s trial.

Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu during his trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja …yesterday. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ATEKO

Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, has sued the Federal Government and five others for allegedly denying lawyers and litigants access to the court during Kanu’s trial.

Other respondents in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation, the Department of State Service (DSS), the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, and the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court.

According to him, they allegedly delved into matters, which they have neither the authority nor the competence for, with respect to Nnamdi Kanu’s case.

The applicant prayed the court to declare that the 3rd 4th, 5th and 6th defendants, servants and/or agents of the 1st defendant do not have the powers under the law to deprive the plaintiff, lawyers, journalists and the Nigerian Public access to the Court during the trial of Kanu adding that the administration of the Federal High Court is the statutory duty and responsibility of the 7th defendant.

He also prayed the court to declare that the failure, refusal and/or neglect of the 7th defendant to make rules, regulations, issuing practice, directive and procedure of the Federal High Court to enable the plaintiff, lawyers, journalists and the Nigerian Public access to the Court during the trial of Nnamdi Kanu is tantamount to dereliction of duties and responsibilities of the 7th and 8th defendants.

According to him, Kanu has the presumption of innocence in his favour and therefore is entitled to a fair hearing in public and that the 7th defendant is empowered to make rules, guidelines, directives or law for the trial of Nnamdi Kanu by visual, live broadcast, move than any of the trials to a bigger venue like the International Conference Centre,  and straining online.

He then prayed the court for an order to restrain the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th defendants, their servants, agents and/or privies from further depriving the plaintiff, lawyers, journalists and the general public access to the court during the trial of Nnamdi Kanu or any other high profile case in Nigeria.

Chief Malcolm also prayed the court for an injunction to restrain the 2nd and 3rd Defendants from supporting and patronising the use of the 1st defendant to carry out the primary duties and responsibilities of the Nigerian Police Force in maintaining the internal security, law and order in Nigeria without the backings of the law or without following due process and compliance with the law,” he prayed.

In a 37 paragraph affidavit, deposed to by Chief Malcolm, he affirmed that on June 29, 2021, the trial of Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for treasonable felony resumed after four years and the case was adjourned to July 26, 2021.

“On July 26, 2021 Kanu’s case could not go on because the prosecution failed to produce him in court and consequently the case was adjourned to October 21, 2021. It came up with Kanu present in court and after proceeding for that day, the case was subsequently adjourned to November 10, 2021,” he deposed.

He averred that on those three occasions the servants, agents and/or privies of the 3rd and 4th defendants took over the premises and the adjoining road to main roads to the Federal High Court, Abuja, blocking them and setting up barricade turning journalists, lawyers and members of the public away from the surroundings of the court premises.

According to him, they denied the lawyers, litigants and journalists and members of the public access into the court premises and courtroom.

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