Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Director General, Department of State Service (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to give maximum protection to the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Hon Leke Abejide from any arrest or detention by the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
The DSS, Police and Bello were, in separate orders, barred from inviting, arresting, detaining, or threatening the life and properties of the governorship candidate pending the hearing and determination of a suit instituted against them by the politician.
The Judge issued the restraining orders on Wednesday in Abuja while ruling in an ex-parte application argued by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Sammie Somiari, on behalf of the governorship candidate.
In the order signed by Justice Mohammed, the DSS, Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps were ordered to protect the properties of the politician in Abuja, Kogi State and in any parts of the country while the orders last.
The governorship candidate in the ex-parte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1248/2023 had sought to enforce his fundamental rights to life, dignity of person, personal liberty, fair hearing, peaceful assembly and association.
He also sought his rights to freedom of movement and freedom from discrimination as enshrined in sections 33, 34,35,36,37, 38,40,41,42 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution and other relevant laws on human rights.
He complained that since he emerged as a governorship candidate and his campaign booming, Governor Yahaya Bello had allegedly become jittery and threatened and opted to get him arrested and caged to keep him out of circulation.
Abejide, who was recently in the House of Representatives from Kogi West side of Kogi State, alleged that the ultimate aim of the Governor is to harass, intimidate, threaten and get him out of the November 11, 2023 governorship election at all costs to pave the way for his anointed candidate in the All Progressive Congress (APC).
After listening to the arguments of the senior lawyer along with tendered exhibits, Justice Mohammed issued the restraining orders against the respondents to the effect that the applicant must not be arrested, detained or harassed pending the resolution of his substantive suit.
“An Order is hereby made restraining the respondents, their agents, servants and anybody acting through or under them from arresting, inviting, detaining or threatening the applicant’s life and properties pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
“An Order is hereby made compelling the 2nd – 8th respondents to immediately provide maximum security to the applicant in Abuja FCT, Kogi State and elsewhere in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”, the Judge held.
The Judge ordered the applicant to serve all processes regarding the suit on the respondents.
The respondents in the suit are the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, Nigeria Police Force, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Commissioner of Police (Kogi State), DSS, Director General of DSS, Director DSS (Kogi State) and the Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The Judge thereafter fixed September 20 for the hearing of the substantive suit.
It will be recalled that the same Court had on July 13 ordered security agencies in the country to provide maximum protection for another governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the November governorship election in Kogi State, Murtala Ajaka, following similar complaints of threat to life.
In the substantive suit filed on his behalf by Ogwu James Onoja SAN, the ADC governorship candidate prayed to the Court for a declaration that hounding, harassment, intimidation, threat to arrest, kill, and detain by Kogi Governor, using armed officers, militias and thugs to stop him from participating in the November 11 election is a violation of his rights to life and dignity of his human person.
He also wants the Court to declare that the threat by Governor Yahaya Bello to attack, invade and destroy his motor vehicles, houses, and offices to kill, arrest and detain him violates his rights to peaceful assembly and association, freedom to life, dignity and personal liberty.
Abejide applied for an order of the Court restraining the respondents, whether by themselves, their agents or privies, from arresting, abducting, detaining, or further harassing, intimidating, shooting, or threatening him and his properties.
The ADC governorship candidate also sought another order on Governor Yahaya Bello to pay him N2 billion for the alleged gross violation of his fundamental human rights and tendering a public apology.
In a 27-paragraph affidavit, he deposed in support of the originating summons, the plaintiff averred that the agents of the Kogi State Governor have allegedly laid siege on his house in Abuja since he became a front runner in the Kogi State Governorship election.
He claimed that his protest and complaints to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) did not yield fruitful results; hence, he decided to approach the Court to protect his life and properties.