A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit asking for N130 million from the Federal Government and Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) as damages for violation of the rights of ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo held, among others, that the applicant, Dr. N. S. Nwawka, filed the suit without Justice Onnoghen’s permission, thus lacking the locus standi.
In his October 12, 2020 ruling, the judge held: “I have looked at the originating processes filed by the applicant herein, with due respect to him, I do not see any nexus between him and the respondents, jointly or severally.
“I do not see his remote or immediate interest in the matter in which he has not been instructed to file by the former Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I pose a question to him and this is whether the former CJN has told him that he is incapable of fighting his own battle or that he is even ready for any battle against anybody?”
The judge also declined to grant Nwawka leave to apply for a referral of some “constitutional questions to the Court of Appeal” for determination.
He held: “The applicant’s motion is incompetent as it is, and I, therefore, dismiss same…
Nwawka, who appeared in person, filed the suit on January 7, 2020.
At the hearing of the substantive case on July 15, he averred that that sometime in 2019, Immigration officers stationed at the international airport prevented the former CJN from travelling to Ghana and confiscated his international passport without any prior order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
He also alleged that the Federal Government had refused to pay Onnoghen his terminal benefit and that there is no pending prosecution of the former CJN to warrant such treatment.
But the government’s lawyer, Mrs. Habiba U. Chime, opposed him on the ground, among others, that Nwawka did not disclose how his legal rights were affected by the acts complained of.