Ebonyi ex-commissioner drags Gov. Umahi, others to court – By Reginald Okoro

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Gov. Umahi (L), Chief Onyike (R)

 Former Ebonyi state Commissioner for Information and state Orientation, Chief Abia Onyike, has dragged the state governor David Nweze Umahi, and four others to an Abakaliki Federal High Court, to seek the enforcement of his fundamental rights. 

Onyike in the motion filed on July 3, with motion number FHC/AI/CS/59/2020 is seeking for an order for enforcement of his fundamental rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty, freedom of movement, and freedom of expression, right to private and family life. 

The former commissioner is also seeking for the enforcement of his fundamental right to freedom from discrimination.

Chief Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi state, Director, State Security Services, Commissioner of Police, Chief Austin Umahi, HRH, Ezeogo Charles Azuenya, Chairman Afikpo South Local Government Area Council of Traditional Rulers are respondents to the motion. 

A copy of the suit was obtained on Monday by our Correspondent at the Federal High Court, Abakaliki, the state capital.

The originating motion was brought pursuant to Order 11, Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rule 2009, sections 34, 35, 37, 39, 41 and 42 of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution as amended. 

The motion was further hinged on the provisions of the Article 5, 6 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. 

The applicant’s counsel said the motion was brought pursuant to the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction of the honorable Court as preserved by section 6 (6), (A) – (C) of the Nigeria 1999 Constitution as amended.

He sought five reliefs including; a declaration that the plot, plan and attempt by the respondents to arrest, re-arrest, detain, interrogate, torture, intimidate, harass and embarrass him by the respondents was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. 

The applicant said that the stated actions if taken would amount to flagrant infringement of his fundamental right to dignity of human person; personal liberty, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, right to private and family life and freedom from discrimination. 

He is further seeking for a declaration that the plot and plan by respondents to ostracize the applicant and banish him out of his village, local government area and state, is manifestly illegal, unlawful and unconditional. 

The applicant further seeks for a declaration “that  the action if taken will amount to gross contravention of his constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty, freedom of movement and right to private and family life among others.” 

 Furthermore, the applicant seeks for an order of injunction restraining the respondents, either by themselves, their agents, privies, surrogates and or any other persons whosoever acts on their behalf, directive, order or instructions from engaging in any action likely to breach his fundamental right. 

The applicant is seeking for the award of N20 million damages against the defendants jointly and severally for bodily, mental, emotional, psychological trauma, social embarrassment, humiliation and ridicule suffered as a result of the unlawful plot to arrest him. 

The plaintiff is  also seeking for any such order or further orders as the honorable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances. 

The Summitnews reports that no date has been fixed for hearing in the motion. 

Recall that former commissioner, who is also a veteran journalist has been engaged in a running battle with the Ebonyi governor following his criticism over the governor’s style of administration which he described as anti-people.

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