By AZA MSUE, Kaduna
The Federal High Court has dismissed the fundamental human rights case instituted by former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Prof.Chidi Odinkalu, against the Kaduna State Government and ordered the applicant to pay N500,000 to each of the four respondents.
The respondents are the Director of Public Prosecution, Kaduna State, the Governor of Kaduna State, the Commissioner of Police in the state and the Inspector-General of Police.
Delivering judgment in the matter on Thursday, Justice Peter Malong of the Kaduna Division of the Federal High Court upheld Kaduna State Government’s argument that his affidavit was incompetent, depriving Odinkalu’s suit of any foundation.
It will be recalled that Odinkalu had instituted the case as part of his effort to stall his trial for furnishing false information, injurious falsehood, public nuisance and inciting disturbance at the Federal High Court, under the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State.
Odinkalu, former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission, took Kaduna State to court, alleging a breach of his fundamental rights.
Kaduna State Ministry of Justice applied for a court order for the police to investigate the allegations that he leveled live on Channels Television on 16th February 2019, accusing Governor Nasir El-Rufai of falsehood for saying that there had been casualties following clashes in Kajuru local government area of the state.
Kaduna State asked the court to order the investigate Odinkalu’s allegations and report the outcome to the court.
The Police subsequently invited Odinkalu for questioning and the state also filed Case No. KMD/27DC/2019 at the Chief Magistrate Court, Kaduna, for the issuance of criminal summons against him for offences under Sections 77, 373,104 and 150 of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State.
Odinkalu also filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the magistrate court to prosecute him. The court overruled his objection and assumed jurisdiction to hear and determine the case.
However, Odinkalu filed an application before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights, with Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1112/2019.
The trial judge, Suo motu, raised the issue of jurisdiction in the case and questioned why the suspect filed the application in Abuja rather than in the Kaduna Division of Federal High Court and decided to transfer the case to Kaduna with a new Suit No. FHC/KD/CS/97/2019.
Odinkalu, also filed another action before the High Court of Kaduna State in Suit No. KDH/KAD/1100/2019 for judicial review, praying the court to quash his trial before the Chief Magistrate Court, Kaduna.
Hearing notice has been issued for next week in the matter.