Court gives Jonathan, Army Chiefs more time to defend fuel subsidy removal case
A Federal High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, has fixed the 3rd of April for hearing in the suit filed by Save Nigeria Group(SNG) against the Federal Government over an alleged violation of its members rights in last January’s protest against the removal of fuel subsidy.
The SNG filed the suit against President Goodluck Jonathan, the National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin and Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika.
Others listed in the suit are the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke.
Presiding Justice Steven Adah on Monday, adjourned the matter after the counsel representing the President, the IG and the AGF, Mr. Taiwo Abidogun, informed the court that he was yet to file his counter-affidavit to the suit. He attributed the delay in his response to the applicant’s mode of commencement of the suit.
Counsel for the applicants, Ms Flora Ogbuitepu however asked for the court’s permission to move her application without the respondents’ counter-affidavits being in the court’s file.
She said the respondents had been served with the processes of the suit on the 8 & 9th of Febraury 2012, and their failure to respond within five days, as provided by the court rules, implied that they were not willing to oppose the suit.
In a short ruling, Justice Adah granted more time to enable the respondents regularise their filings.
The SNG, convened by Pastor Tunde Bakare, is asking the court to award the sum of N100m against the respondents as damages for an alleged violation of its members’ rights by deploying troops to stop its protest on January 16, 2012.
It also wants the court to order the respondents to publish an apology in at least three national newspapers.
However despite confirmation that all the respondents had been served with the processes of the suit, the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of Army Staff are yet to be represented by counsel in court.
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