The Supreme Court of Nigeria has adjourned for judgment in the suit filed by a human rights activist and former Nigeria Bar Association Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olukunle Edun. The suit is Olukunle Ogheneovo Edun v. Governor of Delta State & Anor. Appeal No. SC/961/2019.

Edun is challenging the judgments of the lower courts which refused to hear on the merit the suit he filed challenging the constitutionality of some of provisions of the Pension Law of Governor of Delta State. The law was passed by the State House of Assembly awarding alleged bogus entitlements and benefits to former Governors and Deputy Governors of the State.

Among the entitlements set out in the controversial Pension Law are residential buildings, several vehicles to be renewed every 4 years, personal staff, security aides, and state-sponsored foreign vacations, all at the expense of the State.

Edun argues that the entitlements are not a product of assessment by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission as required by law.

Both the trial court and the Court of Appeal held that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to challenge the Pension Law of Delta State as unconstitutional and that the case would not therefore be determined on the merit.

At the hearing of the appeal by the Supreme Court, foremost human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN sought leave of the court to appear as an amicus curia and accordingly filed an amicus brief in the appeal. However, the appeal was heard only on the basis of the briefs filed by parties in the appeal.

Human rights watchers believe that the decision of the apex court on the vexed issue of locus standi in public interest litigation will be a watershed, noting that many courts still refuse to entertain public interest cases filed by human rights activists to challenge obnoxious laws and impunity among various government agencies and officials.

The judgment has been reserved by the Supreme Court for July 12, 2024.

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