ICYMI: Court asked to vacate order proscribing Shiites

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has been asked to vacate or set aside its earlier ex parte order proscribing the existence and activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites in any part of Nigeria under whatever form, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called or referred to.

In a motion on notice brought pursuant to Order 26 Rules 6(1) 9 and 10 of the Federal High Court Rules 2019, Section 6(6)(1)(4), Section 36,39 and 40 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the court was also asked set aside or vacate the ex parte order of the Court made on the 26th July, 2019, “Coram: N.E. Maha, J, in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/876/2019 between, Attorney General of the Federation V. Islamic Movement in Nigeria restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the Respondent/Applicant (Islamic Movement in Nigeria) under any other name or platform howsoever called or described in any part of Nigeria”.

The suit filed by a human right lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), counsel to the Islamic movement said the ex-parte order made on July 26, 2019, by the court was made without jurisdiction, as the order was made against a non-juristic body.

The said order of the court, according to Falana breached the fundamental right of all members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004 in that no fair hearing was granted the applicant/respondent before the order was made.

“The order ex parte granted by this Honourable Court has violated the fundamental right of members of the Respondent to freedom of thought, conscience and religion guaranteed by Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

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“The order ex parte granted by this Honourable Court has breached the fundamental right of the members of the Respondent to freedom of assembly and association guaranteed by Section of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as Amended.

“The Honourable Court did not grant the declaration that the activities of the Respondent (Islamic Movement of Nigeria ) in any part of Nigeria amounts(sic) to acts of terrorism and illegality.

“There was no urgency warranting the grant of the order ex parte. No Motion-on-Notice was filed together with the Motion Ex Parte. The Ex Parte order made by the Honorable Court has determined the fundamental right of the Respondent/Applicant without affording it fair hearing.

“No undertaking was made as to damages. The order Ex Parte was anchored on misrepresentation of material facts and based on suppression of material facts”, Falana held in motion, adding that the order ex parte constitutes a gross abuse of the process of the Court.

A supporting affidavit deposed to by one, Haruna Magashi a Legal Practitioner said the Islamic Movement, as at August 1, have not been served with a copy of the said order ex parte.

He sais the Respondent/Applicant was never afforded the opportunity to defend the allegation made against it by the Applicant/Respondent before the ex-parte order was made contrary to the provision of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

That in granting the order, no return date was given by the Court for the hearing of Motion-on-Notice in respect of the ex-parte motion.

“That I have read the facts of the affidavit in support of the motion ex-parte and I know that they are all false and that this Honourable Court was misled to believe them to be true before granting the Ex parte order.

“That the Respondent is a friendly society of members of the Shia Muslims in Nigeria who follow the teachings and guidance of Shiekh Ibraheem Elzakyzaky.

“That the Respondent is not a corporate body as it has not been registered under any law in Nigeria. That the activities of the members of the Respondent are non-violent but peaceful and they have been in existence since the 1970s in Nigeria as a Muslim body,” he said.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the motion on notice.

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