A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday fixed Nov. 7 to rule on a fundamental rights enforcement suit seeking the reinstatement of impeached Governor of Adamawa State, Malam Murtala Nyako.
Justice Okon Abang reserved his ruling after hearing arguments by counsel of parties in the suit.
It was reported that a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, had filed the suit in August challenging the legality of Nyako’s impeachment on July, 15.
Ogungbeje had argued that Nyako’s impeachment was a clear derogation from the due process of law and prayed the court for an order reinstating him as a governor.
Respondents in the suit are former Acting Governor of Adamawa State, Mr Umaru Fintiri, Adamawa State House of Assembly and the Acting Chief Judge of the State, Justice Ambrose Mammadi.
Others are Justice Buba Kajama, (Chairman of the seven-member panel that investigated allegations of gross misconduct against Nyako), Independent National Electoral Commission and the Inspector General of Police.
At the resumed hearing of the suit, the defence counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said that the third respondent (Acting Chief Judge of Adamawa) was not served the court processes.
He said that it would only be fair for the said respondent to be given an opportunity to put in his defence.
Olanipekun also faulted the service of processes on Fintiri and the Adamawa State House of Assembly through the Liaison office in Lagos.
He argued that the affidavit of service reflected the name of one Mr Kasumu Bauchi, who was unknown at the Adamawa Liaison office in Lagos.
The defence counsel also submitted that the suit to challenge the impeachment of a governor could only be filed in the state where it was done and therefore the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case.
He said that in view of this and the fact that Nyako had also instituted action to challenge his impeachment at an Adamawa State High Court in Yola, the suit amounted to an abuse of court process.
Responding, Ogungbeje said it was clear that the applications filed by Olanipekun were clearly intended to scuttle the judgment of the court which was previously fixed for Sept. 30.
He urged Justice Abang to discountenance the arguments of defence counsel and write his name in gold by doing substantial justice in the suit by ordering the reinstatement of Nyako.
He submitted that the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which held that Nyako’s deputy, Mr James Ngilari, did not resign in the eyes of the law, had cleared the way for Justice Abang to do justice in the case.
After listening to the submissions of counsel, Justice Abang said he would first rule on the application to suspend proceedings filed by Olanipekun.
The judge held that if the applications are dismissed, the reserved judgment would be delivered, but where it succeeds, the necessary consequential orders would be made.
He consequently adjourned the suit to Nov 7 for ruling.