BY BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
LAGOS — Leading human rights crusader and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has dragged the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister for Education before a Federal High Court in Lagos, over admission inequality in Federal Government Colleges, also known as Unity Schools.
In suit No. FHC/L/CS/1358/2013, Agbakoba is asking the court to declare that application by government of different cut-off marks for Unity Schools, based on gender, ethnicity and states of origin is discriminatory and violates fundamental guarantees to freedom from discrimination of his grandchildren candidates as guaranteed by the constitution.
The suit was brought pursuant to Section 42 of the constitution which prohibits administrative or executive actions by government that discriminates between Nigerians on grounds of ethnicity, gender, religion and place of origin.
In the originating application for the enforcement of fundamental rights, filed on September 30, 2013, the senior advocate is seeking the following orders:
A declaration that the administrative acts of the respondents, particularly the 2nd respondent which prescribes and applies different requirements including cut-off marks for candidates seeking admission into Federal Government Colleges, based on gender, ethnicity, states of origin etc is discriminatory against Applicant’s grandchildren and the group/class they represent, on grounds of ethnicity, states of origin, gender etc. and therefore violates Section 42(1) of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Also, an order directing the respondents, particularly the 2nd respondent, to apply uniform admission requirements, especially cut-off marks to all candidates seeking admission into Federal Government Colleges, notwithstanding their gender, states of origin, ethnicity etc.
Including, an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, particularly the 2nd respondent, whether by itself, its agents, servants, privies or otherwise howsoever from further acts of discrimination in admission to Federal Government Colleges.
The application is supported by a statement and an affidavit of 19 paragraphs deposed by Agbakoba and also a written address containing the arguments.
Meanwhile, the suit which came up on December 4, 2013 was adjourned to March 6, 2014 for hearing.