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Amaechi, Onu’s to be Arrested.

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted
leave to a group, Kingdom Human Rights Foundation, to initiate
proceeding for an order to arrest the Minister of Transportation, Mr.
Chibuike Amaechi, and his Science and Technology counterpart, Dr.
Ogbonnaya Onu, over the recent allegations levelled against them by two
justices of the Supreme Court.
The plaintiff, in its substantive suit,
asked the court to make an order of mandamus compelling the Department
of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) to “perform their statutory obligations” by immediately
arresting and prosecuting the two ministers.
The group also sought an order of
mandamus compelling President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack both
ministers “in the public interest and public morality” based on
allegations of attempts to influence court decisions, as recently
alleged by the two justices of the Supreme Court.
Journalists yesterday in Abuja were
served with copies of the enrolled order made by Justice Ahmed Mohammed
granting leave to the plaintiff to go ahead with the suit. The order was
granted on December 1.
The former Chief Justice of Nigeria
(CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, was said to have informed the president
of the attempts by his ministers to influence the course of justice in
the election petitions pertaining to the Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Abia, Ekiti
and Ebonyi State governorship elections held between 2014 and 2015.
Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang
Okoro, both of the Supreme Court, had accused Amaechi and Onu of
attempting to influence the Supreme Court decisions in some election
cases between 2015 and 2016.
Ngwuta and Okoro levelled the allegations
against Amaechi and Onu in separate letters addressed to Justice
Mohammed in his capacity as the CJN, after they were arrested by the DSS
on allegations of corruption between October 7 and 8.
The justices had alleged that the DSS
descended on them after they refused to perverse the course of justice
on behalf of Buhari’s ministers.
Weighty as the allegations were, the president neglected to act on them.
Ngwuta had in his letter alleged that
Amaechi delivered to him a purported instruction from Buhari asking him
to help to sway the judgments of the Supreme Court on the Ekiti and
Rivers States governorship elections in favour of their party, the All
Progressives Congress (APC).
The Supreme Court justice, who is now
being prosecuted by the federal government on charges of corruption,
also alleged that Onu sought his help to influence the decision of the
Court of Appeal in favour of the Labour Party candidate in the last
year’s governorship election in Ebonyi State.
Okoro, on his part, also claimed that
Amaechi told him that the president and the APC mandated him to inform
him (Okoro) that they must win the governorship election appeals in
Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia States at all cost.
Based on the allegations, the plaintiff
on October 31 filed the suit through its counsel, Mr. Okere Kingdom,
seeking various orders compelling Buhari to sack the ministers and also
directing the EFCC and DSS to arrest and prosecute them.
Joined in the suit as defendants are Amaechi, Onu, the DSS, EFCC and Buhari.
After granting the plaintiff leave, the
judge directed that “the originating summons, affidavit in support and
the motion ex parte dated October 10, and any other processes filed in
the suit shall be served on all the defendants”.
Justice Mohammed fixed December 15 for mention and ordered that fresh hearing notices be served on all the defendants.
The originating summons was filed
pursuant to the provisions of the Security Agencies Act and Section 6 of
the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004, as Order 3, Rule 9 and Order 34,
Rule 34 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009.
The plaintiff, in the originating
summons, stated that “the allegations made against the first and second
defendants (Amaechi and Onu) by the two Justices of the Supreme Court of
Nigeria were grievous enough to warrant their arrest, investigation and
prosecution by the third and fourth defendants (DSS and EFCC)”.
The group also alleged that the
allegations were weighty enough “to warrant their removal from office
without delay by the fifth defendant (Buhari), who was also accused to
have sent the first defendant (Amaechi) on the mission to ensure that
the All Progressives Congress wins all their governorship election cases
at all cost and by all means”.
It asked the court to declare that the
failure of the president to sack Amaechi and Onu “is grievous enough to
conclude that President Buhari’s fight against corruption is a
window-dressing, witch-hunt, selective, high-handed, vindictive,
malicious and prosecuted with gross disregard for the rule of law”.
It therefore sought an order of mandamus
compelling the DSS and EFCC “to immediately and without further delay
whatsoever, arrest, investigate and prosecute the first and second
defendants (Amaechi and Onu), based on the allegations of corruption and
attempts to induce or bribe the Justices of the Supreme Court”.
It also sought another order of mandamus
compelling Buhari “to immediately and without any further delay
whatsoever sack or cause the first and second defendants to resign from
offices as Minister of Transportation and Minister of Science and
Technology on the grounds of the public interest, public morality and to
enable the third and fourth defendants (DSS and EFCC) speedily carry
out their statutory responsibility of arresting and prosecuting the
first and second defendants”.
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