Hon. Justice Peter Mallong of the Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna has delivered judgement, yesterday, in the fundamental rights case filed by Prof. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and current Senior Manager, Open Society Justice Initiative.
Delivering the judgement, Mallong,J held that the affidavit which was deposed by a different person other than the Applicant was incompetent and because it was incompetent it did not confer jurisdiction on the Court as such the fundamental rights complained of by the Applicant cannot be determined. The Court awarded N5,000 (five thousand naira) as cost to each Respondent.
Reacting to the judgement, Counsel to Prof. Odinkalu, Barr. Gloria Ballason, said, “We will certainly appeal the case as the ruling is at stark variance with the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure rules and the laws of fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution.’
Providing the background of the case, Ballason narrated that, “Gov. Nasiru El-rufai of Kaduna State instituted a secret trial against Prof. Odinkalu when Odinkalu asked the Governor to verify his spurious allegation of 66 Fulanis were killed in Kajuru, a statement El-rufai made on the eve of national elections in February, 2019.
“They filed the process at the Magistrate Court without serving the Applicant and they continued the case without serving the Applicant and so, we filed for the fundamental rights of Odinkalu before the Federal High Court to seek the enforcement of among other rights that were violated, the right to fair hearing and freedom of expression in a democratic society. This principally is what the case is about,” Ballason said.