An Abuja Federal High Court has been asked to sack all suits praying for the removal of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, from office.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), made the request to the court.
Buhari and Malami said in a preliminary objection challenging the competence of a suit seeking Magu’s removal from office, “This honourable court cannot invoke its judicial powers under Section 6 (6 ) (b ) ( of the Constitution ) to hear and determine this case.”
There are currently 17 suits instituted for and against Magu’s continous stay as EFCC boss after the denial of the Senate to confirm his appointment as the anti-graft agency’s substantive chairman.
Among the many suits, one is before the Yola Division of the Federal High Court , another is before Kano Division and the rest are before the Abuja Division.
Currently Malami has filed a preliminary objection on behalf of himself and Buhari as the fourth respondent to one of the suits seeking Magu’s removal. The suit was jointly filed by two lawyers, Ahmed Yusuf and Peter Asa, on March 24, 2017.
The Malami, Buhari preliminary objection was signed by a team of lawyers led by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata on behalf of the President and the AGF.
The suit, marked FHC / ABJ/ CS / 227 / 2017, has Magu, the EFCC; the AGF, President Buhari , the Senate , and its President, Dr . Bukola Saraki, as the first to the sixth defendants respectively.
Buhari and the AGF are arguing in their response to the suit by Ahmed Yusuf and Peter Asa that the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the suit. They listed among others that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to file the suit.
“The plaintiffs do not have sufficient interest in the determination of this matter.
“The plaintiffs’ civil rights were not breached by the defendants.
“The plaintiffs did not meet the necessary pre -condition to file this suit,” they argued.
They therefore prayed for “an order of this honourable court striking out this matter for want of jurisdiction”.
They further contended that the plaintiffs lacked the right to institute the suit. According to them, the plaintiffs were
only trying to confer such rights on themselves since they were not asked to file the case by the Senate.
“The plaintiffs claim to be concerned Nigerian citizens and legal practitioners, thus imparted upon themselves the right to institute this suit, notwithstanding the fact that the National Assembly (particularly the Senate) is a legal person capable of suing and being sued. The Plaintiffs did not depose to the fact that they were instructed by the Senate or the Senate President to institute this suit.
“The plaintiffs are seeking inter alia an order restraining the 4 th defendant from re-nominating or representing the name of the 1 st defendant (Magu) to the Senate for appointment as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“My lord, we humbly submit that a perusal of all the processes in the court’s file will reveal that the plaintiffs instituted the action wrongly as they do not possess the locus standi to institute same.
“The plaintiffs have also failed to follow the due process of law in filing this suit and have not brought this action by way of Judicial Review contrary to Order 34 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules.
“This honourable court has therefore been deprived of the jurisdiction to hear and determine this suit.
“And if it is , your lordship has the power to, among other things, strike out this matter in its entirety. We urge your lordship to strike out this matter for want of jurisdiction, ” the preliminary objection read in apart.
It’s not yet clear why the AGF took the legal position of backing Magu’s appointment despite reports of the strained relationship between the two.
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