By Henry Ojelu
A Kaduna State High Court has granted leave to former Executive Chairman of Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu to seek judicial review of his trial by the Kaduna State Government before a magistrates court over allegation of causing public incitement.
The order made by Justice S.S Daka, was sequel to a motion ex-parte by Odinkalu’s lawyer, Gloria Balason seeking for leave of court to apply for a judicial review by way of an order for certiorari in case KMD/2019 between the State v. Prof. Odinkalu.
The Kaduna State authorities had last year filed charges bordering on injurious falsehood and incitement against Prof Odinkalu before a chief magistrate, seeking the activist’s imprisonment for faulting Governor Nasir el-Rufai claim that 66 Fulani residents were killed in an attack in Kajuru, Kaduna State.
The Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kaduna has been hearing the charges behind closed doors since they were filed at the apparent instance of Governor El-Rufai.
Odinkalu’s lawyers who have been attending hearings in the matter claimed that trial has been characterised by “unnecessary adjournments and secrecy” with little progress made months after it was filed.
Part of the reliefs sought by Odinkalu in his motion ex-parte before the Kaduna State High Court; “An order stipulating that the granting of leave of paragraph 1 above shall operate on the interim to stay proceedings in suit KMD/2019 pending the hearing of the motion on notice.”
Granting the reliefs, Justice Daka said, “Leave is hereby granted to apply for a judicial review by way of an order for certiorari in case KMD/2019 between the state versus Prof. Chidi Odinkalu.
“An order is hereby granted stipulating that the granting of leave of paragraph 1 above shall operate in the interim to stay proceedings in suit KMD/2019 pending the hearing of the motion on notice.”
The matter was subsequently adjourned to February 4, 2020 for motion on notice to be served on the respondents.