The reinstated National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress and the former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has filed an action before the Benin Division of the Federal High Court for the enforcement of his fundamental rights over the Benin Specialists Hospital.
The move is seen by many as a ploy to avoid prosecution for the ill-fated construction and equipment of the accident and emergency ward of the Specialist Hospital, Benin City.
In the Originating Motion dated 25th of March, 2020 which was made available to TheNigeriaLawyer (TNL), Respondents in the suit are Edo State Government, Attorney-General of Edo State, Justice J.U. Oyomire (rtd.), Professor Emmanuel E. Obaseiki-Ebor, Mrs. Elizabeth Uwaifo, Enemaku Hilary Igemoh, Anthony Izevbekhale, Inspector General of Police and Department of State Security.
In Motion with Suit No: FHC/B/CS/40/2020 signed by his counsel, Nnamonso Udo Ekanem (SAN), Adam’s Oshiomole is seeking the following reliefs:
A declaration that the action of the 1st Respondent in constituting the 3rd to 7th Respondents into a Commission of Inquiry to probe the Applicant’s building and award of contracts for the building of the Benin Specialists Hospital in Benin City without notice of the Applicant or inviting the Applicant to state his own side on the issue Constitutes a gross violation of the Fundamental Rights of the Applicant to a fair hearing as enshrined in section 36 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
A Declaration that the governor of Edo State by name Godwin Obaseki is acting in clear and obvious bias in appointing his blood relation in person of Emmanuel E. Obaseiki-Enor of who is the 4th Respondent in this suit constitutes a situation of the said Governor Godwin Obaseki becoming a Judge in his own cause and constitutes a violation of one of the principles of Fair hearing is nemo dat in causa sua and amounts to a violation of the Right the Applicant as enshrined in section 36 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Other reliefs sought are a declaration that the Commission of inquiry cannot lawfully sit at the National Industrial Court premises being an agency of the Federal Government and not an organ of the Edo State Government and an order restraining the Commission of Inquiry from sitting same being contrary to Oshiomhole’s right to fair hearing.
An order is also sought retraining the Inspector General of Police and the Department of State Security (DSS) from acting on any report of the Commission of inquiry.
Adams Oshiomole also sought a declaration that “if before, during or after the filing of this application, 2nd – 6th Defendants produce any report as the product of Commission of Inquiry, the said report is rendered null and void, same having being arrowed at in gross violation of the Fundamental Rights of the Applicant”.
Oshiomole’s suit is accompanied by an Affidavit of 7 paragraphs wherein he swore that the Benin Specialists Hospital was Commissioned and remained intact under his administration till he handed over power to the current governor.
He accused Governor Obaseki of swearing to pull him (Oshiomole) down and has been making efforts to remove him as the National Chairman of APC.
Oshiomole swore that the Commission of inquiry set up by Governor Obaseki had never invited him to explain anything to them and the said committee has a blood brother of the Governor, Professor Emmanuel E. Obaseiki-Ebor, as a member
He further swore that the Commission is hurrying up its job without hearing him and is therefore afraid his fundamental rights would be violated if his reliefs are not granted. He annexed the copy of the news of the constitution of the committee which he downloaded from the internet.
In a Written Address in support of the Application, it was argued on behalf of the Applicant that the Federal High Court has requisite jurisdiction to entertain the matter. Reliance was placed on some decided case including the case of JACK V. UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE MAKURDI (2004) LPELR-1587(SC) and reproduced its relevant ratio containing the pronouncement of Per Kastina-Alu, J.S.C. (P. 11, paras. A-E) as follows:
”I would like to point out that section 42(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which I have reproduced above has provided the court for the Enforcement of the Fundamental Rights as enshrined in Chapter IV. A person whose fundamental right is breached, being breached or about to be breached may therefore, apply to a High Court in that State for redress. Order 1 rule 2 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 1979 which came into force on 1 January, 1980 defines ‘court’ as meaning ‘the Federal High Court or the High Court of a State’.
What this means is this; both the Federal High Court and the High Court of a State have concurrent jurisdiction.”
It was further argued on behalf of Oshiomole that his probe is in violation of his right to fair hearing
“in this case at hand the Applicant whose tenure as governor is being probed has not been afforded an opportunity to defend himself, a violation of the AUDI ALTEREM PARTEM PRINCIPLE”
(The Nigeria Lawyer)