A federal high court sitting in Abuja has fixed January 28, 2022 for hearing of the suit challenging the constitutionality of the Department of State Service and police denying entry to lawyers and journalists during the trial of leader Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The matter, which comes up before Justice Inyang Ekwo, has as respondents the Inspector-General of Police (2nd respondent), Office of the Chief Judge of Federal High Court (3rd respondent), Office of Chief Information Officer (4th respondent) and Attorney-General of the Federation (5th respondent).
Human rights lawyer, Tope Temokun, who is also the applicant in the case, had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1272/2021 in defence of press freedom and sanctity of the hallowed temple of justice, sued the DSS, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and others.
The suit is challenging the legality of a circular issued by the Federal High Court with reference number FHC/ABJ/INF/026 dated July 23, 2021 signed by the 4th respondent, which allowed some selected journalists entrance to the court’s premises and denied those not selected access or entrance to the court’s premises.
The applicant is seeking an order setting aside the circular.
The suit is also seeking “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants whether by themselves, agents, privies, representatives and or servants and or anyone or body acting under the authority and or instruction of the defendants from giving any or further effect whatsoever to the circular dated the 23rd day of July, 2021”.
Other reliefs sought include, “A declaration that by the composition of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, the circular signed by the 4th respondent, which allowed some selected journalists entrance to the court’s premises and denied those not selected access or entrance to the court’s premises, constitutes a breach of the right to freedom of expression and the press guaranteed under Section 39 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(As Amended) and Articles 2, 9, 11 and 13(2)&(3) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, LFN 2004 and is therefore illegal and unconstitutional.”