The bid by the indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from inaugurating the 43 ministerial nominees, failed on Monday as a Federal High Court, Abuja refused to grant their prayer.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo in a judgment on an ex-parte application brought by an aggrieved FCT indigene and an Abuja based legal practitioner, Musa Baba-Panya, declined to grant the prayer and ordered that the respondents be put on notice.
Baba-panya, had on behalf of himself and the indigenes of Abuja, dragged Buhari to court for failing to appoint an indigene of the FCT into the Federal Executive Council.
Defenfants in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/878/19, are President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
The plaintiffs asserted that out of the 43 ministerial nominees into the Federal Executive Council of the current dispensation, non is from the FCT.
Taiwo held that the applicant was guilty of delay, since the names of the ministers have already been confirmed by the National Assembly.
Justice Taiwo in addition said the court has no place to grant an injunction when the applicant has not established a legal right.
While holding that the court is inclined to grant an accelerated hearing in the main suit than granting a restraining order, the judge however advised the plaintiff to serve the processes on the AGF alone, since it may be very difficult to personally serve Buhari with the suit.
The court further held that the matter shall be placed on the court list after service is done personally on the respondents.
Arguing the motion last week, Baba-panya, who is also an indigene of Karu in the FCT, said the President’s action was contrary to an Appeal Court’s judgment delivered on March 15, 2018.
Baba-panya, told the judge that the Appeal Court’s ruling was a compelling order, which was served on the president through the AGF.
The lawyer, in an originating summon dated August 7, and filed August 8, said that ”the 43 confirmed ministerial appointees now awaiting swearing-in or inauguration as the Federal Executive Council is incomplete, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”
”The 1st defendant stands in contempt of law and court for his brazen refusal to comply with the tenor of the Abuja Division of Court of Appeal’s judgment of 15/1/2018 compelling him to the immediate and forthwith appointment of an indigene of FCT, Abuja as Minister of the federation,” he said.
He therefore prayed the court to grant an interim injunction restraining the president from inaugurating the confirmed Ministers-designate pending the determination of the motion on notice.
He said allowing the president to go on with his decision would mean that ”he is going to constitute an illegal cabinet.”
According to him, the violation of the FCT indigene’s rights to ministerial representation has been going on since May 29, 1999.
”So it is not a personal issue. All previous Presidents have also violated our rights,” he said.