FEDERAL High Court, Lagos, Friday struck out a suit filed by a lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, seeking the reinstatement of impeached governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako.
Nyako was impeached on July 15, 2014, by the Adamawa State House of Assembly after a panel set up by the Chief Judge of the state indicted him of gross misconduct.
Nyako’s deputy, James Bala Ngilari, who was said to have resigned moments before the impeachment of his boss, was however subsequently sworn-in as the substantive governor of the state following a judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja to that effect.
But Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Lagos, in a ruling, struck out the suit on the ground that the applicant (Ogungbeje) lacked the locus standi to institute the action.
The judge, who described the applicant as a meddlesome interloper in affairs that does not concern him, said the rights to challenge the impeachment of July 15 resides solely in Nyako, who was impeached and not the applicant.
The judge noted that the applicant should have allowed Nyako to carry his own cross, and not cry more than the bereaved.
According to the judge, the operative word in the preamble to the Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules was “may” and not “shall” which implies that human rights enforcement cases could be dismissed for lack of locus standi.
“It is my considered reasoning that this suit is not a public interest litigation as alleged by the applicant. It is not an action instituted in the interest of the public.
“It is Nyako that will benefit from any favourable judgment, and not the public, and so this matter does not rank among public interest litigation.
“The applicant cannot cry more than the bereaved and he has no justifiable reason to file this suit because as at the time he filed it, it was not established before this court that Nyako was in detention or incapacitated.
“The applicant can also not depose to an affidavit in support of this application on behalf of Nyako who is alive. The facts deposed to by the applicant amount to documentary hearsay,” Justice Abang ruled.
He held that the suit was incompetent and lacked merit.
The court awarded N70, 000 costs in favour of the respondents against the applicant.
Reacting to the judgment, Ogungbeje in a statement said he would test Justice Abang’s decision at the higher courts.
He said: “What we got today was judgment and not justice. But it was expected in a system where the pervasion of justice is the norm. We will take necessary steps on today’s inglorious judgment,” he stated.