By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, fixed November 1 to commence hearing on a suit seeking to compel the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba, to initiate a perjury case against the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, granted permission to the Incorporated Trustees of Center for Reform and Public Advocacy, a Civil Society Organization, CSO, to apply for an order of mandamus, to compel the IGP to in line with Sections 31 and 32 of the Police Act and Section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015, prefer charges against the APC flag-bearer, following an allegation that he lied on oath.
Justice Ekwo held that an ex-parte application the group brought before the court on Thursday, was meritorious.
He, therefore, ordered service of all the relevant processes in the substantive suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1058/2022, on the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, and the IGP, who were cited as 1st and 2nd Respondents, respectively.
The group, had through its team of lawyers led by Mr. Ugo Nwofor, told the court that the suit was necessitated by the IGP’s refusal to take action on its petition against APC’s presidential candidate over an offence it said was established by report of an investigation that was conducted by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1999.
The CSO, told the court that it earlier forwarded a petition to Police authorities, demanding further action on the said investigative report.
It maintained that by virtue of Sections 214 and 215, of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as Section 4 of the Nigerian Police Act, 2020, the Police, have the statutory responsibility to “prevent, detect and investigate criminal allegations whether brought to their notice by individuals, person or persons, corporate bodies, institutions etc”.
It further claimed that by Section 31 of the Nigerian Police Act, the Respondents, are duty bound to investigate alleged crime brought to them and report their findings to the Attorney General of the Federation or of a state, as the case may be, for legal advice.
The Applicant added that by Section 32(1) of the Police Act, “a suspect or Defendant alleged or charged with committing offence established by an Act of the National Assembly or under any other laws shall be arrested, investigated and tried or dealt with according to the provisions of this Act, except otherwise provided under this Act”.
It contended that it has the legal competence to invoke the jurisdiction of the court to compel the Respondents to discharge their legal, constitutional and public dutiesy in line with the law.
More so, the Applicant, decried that its two letters dated June 16 and 27, which it forwardes to the Respondents, wherein it demanded the prosecution of the APC candidate over alleged perjury, have until now been ignored.
It said the Respondents have also “not notified the Applicant of any action taken on the said letter”.
The Applicant told the court that following a letter by late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, in 1999, the Lagos State House of Assembly had set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the alleged act of perjury wherein the Committee had in its report on page 13 stated that, “However, on question of providing false information on oath (sections 191 and 197) we are satisfied that the statement of the governor’s educational qualification which he has admitted were incorrect were not intended…”
In its petition to the IGP, the Applicant, claimed that APC’s presidential candidate lied on oath in the form CF 001 he submitted to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship election in Lagos State in 1999.
The Applicant further claimed that Tinubu “forged all the educational certificates he listed in his INEC Form CF 001 which he admitted he did not posses in annexure C”.
“For purpose of clarity, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the said INEC Form deposed on oath that he attended Government College, Ibadan and University of Chicago, USA when in actual fact he did not.
“On the strength of the above, we demand that you initiate the criminal proceedings of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu consequent upon the express findings of the Lagos State House of Assembly as captured above”, it further stated.
Consequently, it is praying the court for, “an order of mandamus, compelling the Respondents to comply with Sections 31 and 32 of the Police Act and Section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in respect of alleged crime laid out in complaint of the Applicant encapsulated in the letter of June 16, 2022, received by the Respondents on the same date and titled: Demand for Criminal Prosecution of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu under Sections 191,192 and 463 of the Criminal Code Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 Consequent upon the Findings of the Lagos State House of Assembly Ad-hoc Committee, 1999”.