The federal government and the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) have requested the high court from Abia state for an expansion of time to empower them record measures in the suit initiated by Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), had recorded a suit checked HIH/FR14/2021 against the national administration of Nigeria, principal legal officer of the alliance, head of armed force staff, overseer general of police, chief general of the Branch of State Administrations and three others for purportedly abusing his essential common freedoms.
Kanu, through his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, asked the court to compel the respondents to pay him N5 billion in damages as monetary compensation for the “physical, mental, emotional, psychological and other damages” he allegedly suffered.
The case was adjourned till October 7 after the federal government & AGF failed to make appearances or file processes in court. As at September 21, only two out of the eight respondents had filed processes in the matter – the DSS in Abuja and Abia.
On October 7, however, the case could not be heard as the case file which was returned by K.C.J. Okereke, the vacation judge, was yet to be reassigned to another judge.
In a fresh application dated September 29, but filed on October 6, the AGF and federal government are asking the court for an extension of time to serve their counter-affidavits and other processes on parties in the suit.
While admitting that they are out of the time stipulated by law, the respondents said it was due to “circumstances beyond their control”. They prayed the court to use its discretion in the interest of a fair hearing.
But Ejimakor opposed the application, and cited statutory and judicial authorities that disallowed inordinate delays in hearing cases of fundamental rights, especially in situations where the applicant is in detention.
“It hobos conviction that it took the government republic of Nigeria and the workplace of the head legal officer of the league with probably great many legal advisors just about one month in the wake of being served a central rights suit to set up a counter-sworn statement,” he said.