Abuja indigenes lose bid to stop ministerial inauguration

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday rejected a request by Abuja indigenes for an order of interim injunction stopping President Muhammadu Buhari from inaugurating his  43 ministers designate  on Wednesday.

 In his ruling, Justice Taiwo Taiwo refused to grant the indigenes’ ex parte application, a request that was heard on August 15 in the absence of the respondents.

The plaintiffs  based  their application  on  the President’s decision not  to  include an indigene of Abuja  on  his  ministerial list, allegedly in disobedience to the Abuja Division of Court of Appeal’s judgment delivered on March 15, 2019.

But  Justice  Taiwo  said he could not grant an injunction seeking to halt the ministerial  inauguration in the absence of the respondents – President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation.

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 He therefore ordered that the respondents be put on notice.

 Justice Taiwo advised the applicant, Mr Musa Baba-Panya, a lawyer from Karu in the Federal Capital Territory and who instituted the suit on behalf of the Abuja indigenes, to serve the AGF with the court processes since it might be difficult to serve Buhari with them.

 The judge also said ministers designate  had already been confirmed by the Senate, meaning that the request to halt their inauguration was late.

 He added that the court could not grant the injunction when the applicant had not established a legal right to institute the suit.

 He granted an accelerated hearing of the main suit.

 The suit, marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/878/19, was filed on August 8

 Arguing his ex parte application earlier on August 15, Baba-Panya, said, “The 43 confirmed ministerial appointees now awaiting swearing-in or inauguration as the Federal Executive Council is incomplete, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

 ‘’The 1st defendant stands in contempt of law and court for his brazen refusal to comply with the tenor of the Abuja Division of Court of Appeal’s judgment of March 15, 2019 compelling him to the immediate and forthwith appointment off an indigene of FCT, Abuja as minister of the federation.”

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