A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking N130million as damages from the Federal Government and Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for violation of the rights of ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo held, among others that the applicant, N.S. Nwawka, filed the suit without Justice Onnoghen’s permission, thus he had no locus standi.
Nwawka, who appeared in person, brought the suit on January 7, 2020
At the hearing of the substantive case on July 15, he averred that sometime in 2019, Immigration officers stationed at the international airport prevented the former CJN from travelling to Ghana and confiscated his international passport without any prior order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
He also alleged that the Federal Government has refused to pay Onnoghen his terminal benefit and that there is no pending prosecution of the former CJN to warrant such treatment.
Nwawka said he approached the court as a concerned citizen to enforce Onnoghen’s fundamental rights to travel in and out of Nigeria unhindered and rights to freedom from inhuman, humiliating, and degrading treatment.
Besides the N130m as general and exemplary damages, he also sought an order from court directing the respondents to immediately release Onnoghen’s international passport confiscated since November 11, 2019, as well as a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from any further foreign travel ban against the former CJN.
But the government’s lawyer, Habiba U. Chime opposed him, on the ground among others that Nwawka did not disclose how his legal rights were affected by the acts complained of.
She argued the applicant did not disclose any legal or equitable interest of his that was attacked and that the suit was wrongly commenced at the Federal High Court.
The 2nd respondent was not represented nor filed any process.