FCT Federal High Court strikes out suit against Acting CJN, Ibrahim Muhammad

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A Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Federal High Court, has strucked out an attempt by a group to stop the confirmation of the appointment of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad.

The group, Malcom Omirhobo Foundation (MOF), had sought to restrain the National Judicial Council (NJC), President Muhammadu Buhari, and other Defendants in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/420/2019, from appointing Justice Muhammad in a substantive capacity, claiming that, he is not a fit and proper person to be so appointed.

Meanwhile, in a judgment on Friday, July 12, Justice Inyang Ekwo found that the group lacked the locus standi to initiate the suit.

Justice Ekwo upheld the preliminary objection raised by the Defendants against the suit, and held that MOF was not registered to engage in the “public interest litigation”, which it claimed to be undertaking by initiating the suit.

The Judge noted that, as against the Plaintiff’s claim that it is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), no law exists in the country that permits the registration of any group as simply as a NGO.

Justice Ekwo was of the view that no organisation registered under “Part C of the Company and Allied Matters Act”, such as is the case with the Plaintiff, is permitted to prosecute public interest cases.

He asked the National Assembly to emulate some Commonwealth countries, like Uganda and Zimbabwe, that have enacted separate legislation for the registration of NGOs.

The Judge said: “I find that no object of MOM2 (object of registration) authorizes the Plaintiff to engage itself in what it called public interest litigation, allowing it to institute this kind of action.

“A body is bound strictly by its object of registration”, Justice Ekwo said and proceeded to strike out the suit.