The African Democratic Congress' (ADC's) Hon.
Leke Abejide has been ordered to receive the best protection from any arrest or detention by Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello by Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja. This includes protection from the Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
A separate order prohibited the DSS, Police, and Bello from inviting, arresting, detaining, or endangering the governorship candidate's life or property while the suit the politician filed against them is being heard and decided.
The judge in Abuja, Nigeria, issued the restraining orders on Wednesday in response to an ex-parte application that was brought by the governorship candidate's Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Sammie Somiari.
The DSS, Police, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps were instructed to safeguard the politician's properties in Abuja, Kogi State, and anywhere else in the nation for the duration of the orders in the enrolment order signed by Justice Mohammed.
The governorship candidate in the ex-parte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1248/2023 sought enforcement of his fundamental rights to life, dignity of person, personal liberty, fair hearing, peaceful assembly, and association.
He also sought the enforcement of his rights to freedom of movement and freedom from discrimination as enshrined in Sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, and 43 of the 1999 Constitution and other relevant laws on human rights.
He complained that since he emerged as a governorship candidate, Governor Yahaya Bello had allegedly become jittery and threatened to get him arrested and detained to keep him out of circulation.
Abejide further alleged that the ultimate aim of the governor is to harass, intimidate, threaten, and get him out of the November 11, 2023, governorship election at all costs to pave the way for his anointed candidate in the All Progressives Congress (APC).
After listening to the arguments of the senior lawyer along with tendered exhibits, Justice Mohammed issued the restraining orders against the respondents to the effect that the applicant must not be arrested, detained, or harassed pending the resolution of his substantive suit.
“An Order is hereby made restraining the respondents, their agents, servants, and anybody acting through or under them from arresting, inviting, detaining, or threatening the applicant’s life and properties pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
“An Order is hereby made compelling the 2nd–8th respondents to immediately provide maximum security to the applicant in Abuja FCT, Kogi State, and elsewhere in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”, the judge held.
The judge ordered the applicant to serve all processes in respect of the suit on the respondents.
The respondents in the suit are the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, the Nigeria Police Force, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Commissioner of Police (Kogi State), DSS, Director General of DSS, Director DSS (Kogi State), and the Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The judge thereafter fixed September 20 for the hearing of the substantive suit.
In the substantive suit filed on his behalf by Ogwu James Onoja, SAN, the ADC governorship candidate prayed the court for a declaration that hounding, harassment, intimidation, threats to arrest, kill, and detain him by the Kogi governor, and using armed officers, militias, and thugs to stop him from participating in the November 11 election are violations of his rights to life and dignity as a human being.
He also asked the court to declare that the threat by Governor Yahaya Bello to attack, invade, and destroy his motor vehicles, houses, and offices so as to kill, arrest, and detain him is a violation of his rights to peaceful assembly and association, freedom of life, dignity, and personal liberty.
Abejide applied for an order of the court restraining the respondents, whether by themselves, their agents, or privies, from arresting, abducting, detaining, or further harassing, intimidating, shooting, or threatening him and his properties.
The ADC governorship candidate also sought another order on Governor Yahaya Bello to pay him N2 billion for the alleged gross violation of his fundamental human rights in addition to tendering a public apology.
In a 27-paragraph affidavit he personally deposed to in support of the originating summons, the plaintiff averred that the agents of the Kogi State Governor have allegedly laid siege to his house in Abuja since he became a front-runner in the Kogi State Governorship election.
He claimed that his protests and complaints to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) did not yield fruitful results, hence his decision to approach the court for protection for his life and property.
The Daily Post recalls that the same court had on July 13 ordered security agencies in the country to provide maximum protection for another governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the November governorship election in Kogi State, Murtala Ajaka, following similar complaints of a threat to life.