By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—Abuja Division of the Federal High Court yesterday fixed April 23 to commence hearing on a suit asking it to declare that 373 indigenous peoples within Nigeria have rights to self-determination.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/107/2018, lodged before the court by a Lagos-based human rights activist, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, is equally urging the court to stop the Federal government from indiscriminately deploying the military for the maintenance of law and order across states in the federation.
Cited as respondents in the suit were President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, National Assembly, Senate president and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Others are the Security Chiefs, Minister of Defence, Governments of the 36 States of the Federation, their Attorneys General and Houses of Assembly, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Justice Binta Nyako okayed the matter for hearing after she granted an ex-parte application the plaintiff’s lawyer, Mrs. Chinyere Okpalla, filed for leave to serve all the relevant processes on some of the respondents outside the jurisdiction of the court.
The court also ordered the issuance of hearing notices to all the respondents to enable them to appear in court at the next adjourned date.
The plaintiff had in the fundamental rights enforcement suit he filed on behalf of 373 ethnic nationalities and 45 pressure groups and agitators in Nigeria, on January 8, 2018, prayed the court to among other things:
“Declare that the use and support of the use of the Nigerian Military by the respondents in place of the Police in the enforcement and maintenance of law and order in Nigeria, is oppressive and a violation of the fundamental rights to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, family and private life, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, movement and freedom from discrimination of the indigenous peoples within Nigeria and the Nigerian Public and therefore illegal, unlawful, undemocratic and unconstitutional”.