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Court Orders Buhari, AGF, FCC To Defend Suit On Alleged Lopsided Appointments In FCT

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday issued a final order to President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Federal Character Commission (FCC) to defend or lose a suit filed against them on the alleged lopsided appointments in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Justice Inyang Ekwo issued the order following the refusal of the three defendants to file their defence in the suit filed against them by an Abuja-based lawyer and human rights activist, Maxwell Okpara.

At Thursday’s proceedings, only the Minister of the FCT, Muhammad Bello was represented by a legal practitioner, Udom Ibeanem while Buhari, AGF and FCC were not in court and were not represented by any legal practitioner despite being served with a hearing notice.

At the proceedings, counsel to the plaintiff, Chukwuma Ozougwu drew the attention of the court to the persistent refusal of the three defendants to respond to the originating summons issued and served on them since December last year and sought permission from the court to present the plaintiff’s case against them.

However, Justice Ekwo held a contrary position, adding that the matter is such that the three defendants must file their defence.

The judge noted the persistent refusal and neglect of the three defendants to react to issues raised against them since last year, adding, however, that he would prefer to give them one more opportunity to come up with a defence.

Opara wants the court to direct President Buhari, the FCT Minister and other defendants to comply with the provisions of Sections 4(1) (a) (b) and 5 of the Federal Character (Establishment) Act in all appointments in all cadres of posts in FCTA.

He also prays to the court to declare that President Buhari, the FCT Minister and the AGF are under obligation to comply with the provisions of Part 1, Sections 1 to 9 and Part III, Sections 4 and 5 if the guiding principle and formulae for distribution of all cadres of posts and appointments into all cadres of posts into the Federal character administration.

The plaintiff further prayed the court to declare that the FCC is empowered by law to formulate principles and guidelines for the application of the Federal Character principle of fairness and equitable distribution if all cadres of posts in the Federal Government of Nigeria and to ensure compliance with the said formulae.

Opara, in a supporting affidavit, argued that appointments, as done by the FCT Minister, favoured people who are mostly from the Northern part of the country.

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