Court Dismisses Oduah’s Fundamental Rights Suit, Awards Cost


BEVERLY HILLS, February 17, (THEWILL) – A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday dismissed a suit filed by a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, seeking enforcement of her fundamental rights.

Joined as respondents in the suit are; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and the Inspector General of Police.

Justice Okon Abang, dismissed the applicant's suit for want of jurisdiction, and ordered her to pay N15,000 as cost of action.

The judge held that if the government had any valid reasons to arraign the applicant in a Lagos State High Court as alleged, it would not amount to a violation of her right.

Abang, however, dismissed EFCC's preliminary objection to the suit for not complying with Order 8 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure.

“The EFCC did not file any opposition in line with the provisions of the law,'' he said

Meanwhile, the judge upheld the preliminary objection by the AGF, challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Lagos to entertain the suit.

Counsel to the AGF, Mr Tijani Gazali had submitted that “the Federal High Court, Lagos cannot assume jurisdiction to entertain alleged breach of fundamental rights that did not take place in Lagos”.

Justice Abang upheld Gazali's argument and dismissed Oduah’s case.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the applicant had filed the suit in August 2015, seeking enforcement of her rights as enshrined in the constitution.

On Aug. 26, 2015, during the court's vacation, the vacation judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, had issued an order of interim injunction.

The injunction restrained the defendants from taking any action pending the final determination of the suit.

In the suit, the applicant is seeking an order, restraining the respondents from probing her over the purchase of two armoured BMW by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority under her watch in 2013.

The applicant averred that the respondents had planned to unleash repression on her, and try her on trumped up charges.

She is urging the court to restrain the defendants from persecuting and humiliating her, under the guise of an anti-graft war.

Meanwhile, the AGF and EFCC had in a counter affidavit, urged the court to dismiss the applicant's suit for lack of merit.

They described the applicant's claims as baseless and speculative, arguing that the claims could not be justified.