A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out the suit brought by dismissed Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) against Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy Hannatu Musawa. 

Justice James Omotoso held that the NBA-SPIDEL Executive Committee lacked locus standi to institute the matter.

The erstwhile Executive Committee had sued Musawa and media personality Kenny Ogungbe for allegedly violating the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act.

Erstwhile NBA-SPIDEL Chairman, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins however told CITY LAWYER that he would “definitely” appeal the ruling in his personal capacity as a plaintiff in the matter, adding that he would also seek guidance from SPIDEL members on the way forward.

His words: “I have asked our lawyers to obtain a certified copy of the ruling as we do not want to rely on social media reports. We will study the ruling and decide on the next steps.

“As a preliminary assessment, I can tell you that we do not agree with the ruling. We know the matters we submitted to the court for adjudication and we are of the firm view that the case ought not to have been struck out.

“I represented myself and SPIDEL members in the suit. In my personal capacity, I will definitely appeal the ruling.

“Recall that the suit was approved by SPIDEL Executive Committee as well as SPIDEL members at a duly summoned Extra-ordinary General Meeting. We will go back to SPIDEL members to seek further guidance on the next line of action.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that the NBA National Executive Council (NEC) had distanced itself from the lawsuit following allegation by NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN that the committee was undermining his authority. The NEC also dissolved the committee following a strong case made by Maikyau.

The committee members have however dragged Maikyau and NBA Trustees to court, challenging their dismissal from office.

NBA-SPIDEL had asked the court to compel the NYSC to nullify the certificates given to Musawa and Ogungbe, alleging that the issuance of the certificate was contrary to the provisions of NYSC Act Cap N84. The named plaintiffs in the suit are Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins and Ms. Funmi Adeogun.

The plaintiffs alleged that the mobilisation of Musawa and Ogungbe for the mandatory one-year national youth service after exceeding 30 years of age was unlawful, illegal, and an affront to patriotism. They also alleged that Musawa and Ogungbe’s purported national service and the certificates of service purportedly issued by the NYSC were null and void.

The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that they are not entitled to be engaged as employees by any employer of labour or services (including the Federal Government of Nigeria) without first possessing and presenting their certificates of national youth service.

They also want a declaration that the 1st defendant is not entitled to continue to hold the exalted office of Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any public office in Nigeria after violently violating with flagrant impunity the provisions of Sections 2(1), 12(1), and 13(1) of the National Youth Service Corps Act, Cap. N84, LFN 2004.”

But riisng from its quarterly meeting in Jos, NBA-NEC “ratified all the actions taken by the President with respect to SPIDEL and directed that all actions filed by John Aikpoko-Martins and Funmi Adeogun, purportedly on behalf of NBA-SPIDEL, be discontinued forthwith.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the said lawsuits include: Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1285/2023 – John Aikpokpo-Martins Esq & 2 Ors v. Federal Government of Nigeria & 2 Ors.

“Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/90/2024 – John Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq & Anor v. Ms. Hannatu Musa Musawa & 3 Ors.

“Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/246/2024 – John Aikpokpo-Martins & Anor v. The Inspector General of Police & 3 Ors.

“Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/247/2024 – John Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq & Anor v. The Inspector General of Police & Anor.

“Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/248/2024 – John Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq & Anor v. The Inspector General of Police & Anor.”

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