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Court adjourns Tinubu’s case against Army Chief, Minimah, to April 20

Tinubu: The pathfinder for the opposition
Tinubu: The pathfinder for the opposition

A Federal High Court, Lagos, on Tuesday adjourned till April 20, a fundamental rights’ enforcement suit filed by former governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, against the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah. Tinubu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had sued Minimah over the deployment of soldiers to lay siege on his No. 26 Bourdillon Street, Ikoyi, Lagos home, between Feb. 9 and Feb.11.

Justice John Tsoho, had on March 26, granted an interim injunction, banning the military siege on Tinubu’s home and stopping any possible arrest or detention of the applicant during the period of the general elections. After granting the order, the judge adjourned to hear the substantive suit. At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, only the applicant’s counsel, Mr Chukwuma Onwuemene, who was holding brief for Mr Femi Falana (SAN), was in court.

However, Minimah was not represented. Onwuemene, however, prayed the court for a short adjournment for the hearing of the substantive suit. Tsoho recalled that the applicant had already secured an interim injunction shielding him from arrest and intimidation by the military, adding that the court could not give any date before the Easter vacation. He, therefore, adjourned till April 20 for hearing.

Chief of Nigerian army staff Lt.General Kenneth Minimah  attend the commissioning ceremony of the "NNS Centenary", an offshore patrol vessel built by Chinese Shipbuilding and Industry Corporation (CSIC) for Nigerian Navy, on February 19, 2015 in Lagos.  Nigerian President Jonathan commissioned into the service of Nigerian Navy four patrol vessels to enhance maritime surveillance, protection of offshore resources and infrastructure. One of the vessels, a frigate was acquired from the US Coast Guard, and one of two others built by Chinese firm was donated by the Chinese government to its Nigerian counterpart.    AFP

Tinubu is seeking a declaration of the court that the military siege on his home was an infringement on his fundamental human rights to private and family life protected under Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The former governor also considered the military action as a violation of sections 35 and 42 of the Constitution as well as Articles 2 and 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.

He claimed that the military siege on his home caused him and his family “psychological and mental torture’’. Tinubu’s personal assistant, Mr Sunday Dare, who deposed to an affidavit in support of the action, said: “That the applicant was exposed to embarrassment as many members of the public asked whether he committed any offence, which could have warranted the siege.

“That the siege portrayed him as a hardened criminal in the society.” Tsoho restrained Minimah and his privies from “arresting, detaining, harassing or intimidating the applicant’’ until the determination of the substantive suit. The judge also ordered the military not to hinder Tinubu from participating in the 2015 general elections.


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