The hopes of former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, to quash his impeachment and seek his reinstatement to office suffered a major setback Friday as a Federal High Court in Lagos dismissed a suit seeking his reinstatement.
The case with suit number FHC/L/CD/1180/14, which was struck out by Justice Okon Abang for lack of merit, also saw the applicant, a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, awarded a cost of N70, 000 against him.
The lawyer had on August 8, 2014, filed the suit.
Following the adoption of the report of a seven-man investigation panel, which indicted Nyako of 16 counts of gross misconduct, the ex-governor was sacked from office as governor of Adamawa on July 15, 2014 by the state’s House of Assembly.
But the lawyer, who said he filed the suit in the interest of the public, had asked the court to declare as “unlawful, unconstitutional, illegal, null and void” the impeachment proceedings and the eventual removal of the governor.
Delivering judgment in the suit on Friday, Justice Abang held that the lawyer lacked the locus standi to institute the action, adding that the suit did not qualify as a public interest suit.
Stating that only Nyako had the right to challenge his own impeachment, the judge described Ogungbeje as a meddlesome interloper.
The judge said the applicant should have allowed Nyako to bear the burden of his impeachment rather than be crying more than the bereaved.
Abang observed that the operative word in the preamble to the Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules was “may” and not “shall” which implies that not all human rights enforcement cases could not be dismissed for lack of locus standi.
“My Lords, it is my considered reasoning that this suit is not a public interest litigation as alleged by the applicant. It is not an action instituted in the interest of the public.
“It is Nyako that will benefit from any favourable judgment, and not the public, and so this matter does not rank among public interest litigation.
“The applicant cannot cry more than the bereaved and he has no justifiable reason to file this suit because as at the time he filed it, it was not established before this court that Nyako was in detention or incapacitated.
“The applicant can also not depose to an affidavit in support of this application on behalf of Nyako who is alive. The facts deposed to by the applicant amount to documentary hearsay”, the judge held.
Justice Abang went on to discountenance the service of the applicant’s processes on the respondents through the Adamawa State Government liaison office in Lagos on August 15, 2014, adding that the recipient was unknown.