Sanusi Lamido floors FG in court

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Mo­hammed Shosanya, La­gos

A La­gos Federal High Court yes­ter­day or­dered the federal govern­ment and its agents to pay sus­pended Cen­tral Bank of Nigeria gover­nor, Mal­lam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, N50 mil­lion as ex­em­plary dam­ages for il­le­gal de­ten­tion and seizure of his in­ter­na­tional pass­port.

Jus­tice Ibrahim Buba who gave the ver­dict on the en­force­ment suit filed by Sanusi, also or­dered the State Se­cu­rity Ser­vice and the po­lice to in­stantly re­lease his pass­port.

He also or­dered the govern­ment and its agents to ten­der an un­re­served pub­lic apol­ogy to Sanusi for his un­law­ful ar­rest, ha­rass­ment, in­tim­i­da­tion and pass­port seizure.

Jus­tice Buba dis­missed a pre­lim­i­nary ob­jec­tion filed by Dr Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) on be­half of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion (AGF) chal­leng­ing the ju­ris­dic­tion of the court to hear the suit, say­ing the pro­vi­sions of Sec­tion 11 of the Labour Act can­not re­move the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Federal High Court.

He held that the pro­vi­sions of Sec­tion 251 of the con­sti­tu­tion vested ju­ris­dic­tion on the court to en­ter­tain mat­ters touch­ing on en­force­ment of fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Sanusi had brought the suit un­der the pro­vi­sions of chap­ter 4 of the con­sti­tu­tion seek­ing an en­force­ment of his rights, and so, is not a dis­pute re­lat­ing to his terms of em­ploy­ment.

“The aver­ment by the re­spon­dent that the mat­ter is labour re­lated is far from the truth, the first re­spon­dent is try­ing to set up an­other case for the ap­pli­cant, it is a case of “shift­ing the goal post” and mak­ing a case for the ap­pli­cant. The facts de­posed in the ap­pli­cant’s orig­i­nat­ing sum­mons and his af­fi­davit speak for it­self, it is a suit for en­force­ment of his fun­da­men­tal right which is recog­nis­able by the federal high court. The court al­lows any per­son who per­ceives that his rights are likely to be in­fringed on, to ap­proach it for re­dress”, he said.

The court there­fore dis­missed the pre­lim­i­nary ob­jec­tion of the AGF, hold­ing that it had ju­ris­dic­tion to hear and de­ter­mine Sanusi’s suit. In his ver­dict on the main suit, he held that from the to­tal­ity of aver­ments in Sanusi’s orig­i­nat­ing sum­mons, there was no doubt that the govern­ment and its agents (re­spon­dents) had failed to an­swer all the ques­tions raised. He held that the first and third re­spon­dents pre­sented con­flict­ing aver­ments in their counter af­fi­davits which showed that they were not on the same page on the is­sue, and had acted in bad faith.

The aver­ment of the sec­ond re­spon­dent is fru­gal, as it stated clearly that they had not been briefed by any­one to in­ves­ti­gate or ar­rest Sanusi. “The first re­spon­dent laboured to sub­mit that the ap­pli­cant is not en­ti­tled to a grant of per­pet­ual in­junc­tion, but this court is of the opin­ion that for ev­ery in­frac­tion, the ap­pli­cant is en­ti­tled to a re­lief. This court be­lieves that the ac­tion of the re­spon­dents in this suit de­serves con­dem­na­tion and ex­em­plary dam­ages”, he said.

The State Se­cu­rity Ser­vice (SSS) said yes­ter­day it will ap­peal the judge­ment.

PHOTO NAN

Pupils of Po­lice Chil­dren School, Ikeja, on pa­rade, dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the school’s mod­ern ICT lab­o­ra­tory in La­gos yes­ter­day.

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