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Bulletproof Cars: Dismiss Oduah’s Suit, FG Tells Court

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The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to strike out a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed against it by a former Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah.
Oduah is seeking to restrain the AGF and others from probing her over the purchase of two armoured BMW cars by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority under her watch in 2013.
The ex-minister claimed that the ruling All Progressives Congress government had perfected plans to try prominent members of the Peoples Democratic Party, including herself, on trumped up charges in a Lagos State government-controlled court.

Oduah, who is now representing Anambra North in the Senate, is, through her lawyer, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, urging the court to bar the respondents in the suit from being used by the Federal Government to unleash repression on her.

The 1st and 2nd defendants in the suit are the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission.

The case is now before Justice Okon Abang, after it was transferred from Justice Mohammed Yunusa, who granted Oduah an interim injunction on August 26, 2015, restraining the respondents from taking any action against her pending the determination of the main suit.

At the resumed proceedings before Justice Abang on Monday, a counsel from the Office of the AGF, Mr. T.A.Gazali, told the court that the AGF had filed a preliminary objection to Oduah’s suit, adding that same had also been served on Oduah’s lawyer, Oluyede.

Oluyede confirmed that the AGF’s preliminary objection had been served on him, adding that he had also filed a reply.

Justice Abang, however, said none of the processes was in the case file passed onto him from the former court.

He adjourned further proceedings in the case till November 24, 2015, by which time all the processes would have been before him.

The AGF, in its objection, is challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court to hear Oduah’s suit on the ground that the alleged rights violation did not take place in Lagos.

Gazali is contending that by virtue of Section 46(1) of the constitution and Order 2 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure, only a court within the state where Oduah’s rights were allegedly violated could hear the case.

“From the whole of the applicant’s averments, there is nowhere she mentioned that her right was or is being breached by the respondents within the territorial space called Lagos.

“There is nothing to show that the applicant was invited, arrested or detained in Lagos by any of the respondents in the suit.

“The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos cannot assume jurisdiction to entertain alleged breach of fundamental rights that did not take place in Lagos State,” Gazali argued.

The AGF also said Oduah had not established any cause of action against it, having not proved that she had been invited, arrested or detained by the AGF.

“The applicant’s suit is not in conformity with Order IX of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009, hence null and void.

“The applicant’s case for the most part is hypothetical and speculative,” Gazali said.

Stella Oduah35

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