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Alleged Federal Character Abuse: HURIWA drags FG to court overboard appointment

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has dragged the Federal Government to court over the appointment of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Board of Trustees.

The plaintiffs, including Emmanuel N. Onwubiko and Oniengieofori George, are asking the Federal High Court Abuja; to set aside the “appointment” by the federal government as well as the directive issued to the third defendant (Minister of Police Affairs) to set a date for the inauguration of the Board, for undermining due process of law.

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The plaintiffs are also seeking an order directing the federal government to immediately reconstitute the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Board of Trustees to reflect the federal character of Nigeria, especially in its leadership consisting of Chairman, Executive Secretary and other members of the Board in such a manner as to prevent the predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups or zones.

Other defendants in the suit are Attorney General of the Federation, Nigeria Police Council, Nigeria Police Trust Fund and Federal Character Commission Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

In a suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/534/2020, dated May 27 and filed the same day, the plaintiffs are asking the court to decide whether in the light of Section 162(3) of the 1999 Constitution and Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, purporting to include as part of its revenue “an amount constituting 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account”, is not unconstitutional and void.

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They are also asking the court to determine whether it is not incumbent on the 1st defendant to appoint and constitute the Board to prevent the predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups or zones, in the board, and whether it is not unlawful and unconstitutional for the leadership and directing minds of the board to be persons from few states or from few ethnic or other sectional groups or zones.”

The Plaintiffs, therefore, seek court’s declaration that Section 4(1) of the Nigerian Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, which purports to take money from the Federation Account for the benefit of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund is inconsistent with section 162 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and thus, null and void.

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President Muhammdu Buhari had on May 6, approved the appointment of seven persons as members of the Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Police Trust Fund. The members include Abba Suleiman from Jigawa State as Chairman; Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto from Sokoto State as Executive Secretary; Mr Nnamdi Maurice Mbaeri (Imo State); Usman Bilkisu (Kebbi State); Ben Akabueze (Anambra State); Mansur Ahmed (Kano State) and Michael B. Adebiyi from Ekiti State.

The plaintiffs frowned that four members of the board including the chairman, secretary and other two members are from North-West Geo-political zone of the country.

“The Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi is also from Sokoto State where the Executive Secretary of the Board, Mr. Aliyu Sokoto also hails from.

“Thus, the Minister of Police Affairs, Executive Secretary and Chairman designate of the Board who form the leadership of the agency are of the same ethnic, or Zonal and or sectional group”, the plaintiffs noted.

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