By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has struck out a suit that sought to compel the Federal Government to prosecute some persons accused of assisting the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, to escape from Nigeria.
Those the suit prayed the court to okay their arrest and prosecution include Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; a former Minister of Aviation Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode; and two other persons that stood surety for the IPOB leader, Tochukwu Uchendu, and Emmanuel Shallom Ben.
The plaintiff, Mr. Isiah Ayugu, who secured leave of the court to commence the action, in his suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1254/18, insisted that the Respondents had a case to answer.
He prayed the high court to issue an order of mandamus to force relevant security agencies, including the Police and the Department of State Services, to promptly initiate criminal action against those he accused of complicity in Kanu’s escape.
However, the court, in a ruling that was delivered by trial Justice John Tsoho, struck out the case for want of diligent prosecution.
Justice Tsoho noted that the plaintiff failed to appear for hearing of the matter, even though his lawyer was present when the case was adjourned.
The judge said he had no option than to terminate further proceeding on the matter since there was no explanation as to why the plaintiff was not represented in court.
“I therefore agree with other reasons adduced by the learned silk and hereby strike out this suit for want of diligent prosecution”, Justice Tsoho held.
The respondents had through their lawyer, Mr. Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN, questioned the competence of the suit.
They urged the court to dismiss it for want of merit, adding that it amounted to gross abuse of the judicial process since a similar case in Suit No. FHC/CR/383/2015, was also pending before the same high court.
Besides, the Respondents argued that the suit was hypothetical in nature, saying it failed to disclose live issues that could be litigated upon.
They prayed the court not to allow itself to be steered to engage in a fruitless academic exercise.
The plaintiff had through his lawyer, Mr. Oghenovo Otemu, prayed the court to among other things, grant an order to mandate security agencies to investigate and prosecute Abaribe and the others, including Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, for “working together to propagate and spread lies and falsehood that Kanu was abducted, kidnapped, arrested and detained by the Nigerian military, when indeed they were well aware of Kanu’s whereabouts because they played roles in helping him to disappear from Nigeria.”