The Federal Government has today March 4, 2014 appealed against the decision of Honourable Justice Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos which ruled that seizure and withdrawal of Mallam Sanusi’s Passport was illegal and a breach of his fundamental right to freedom of movement.
The Notice of Appeal which was filed by Counsel to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation Chief (Dr) Mike Ozekhome, SAN and Dr Fabian Ajogwu, SAN are asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the Judgment of the lower Court that was delivered on April 3, 2014 and for an order striking out the 1st Respondent’s (Sanusi’s) Originating Summons dated February 21, 2014 for want of jurisdiction.
In a Notice of Appeal dated March 4, 2014 and filed same day, the learned Silks specifically relied on the following grounds:
1. “The learned trial Judge erred in law when he assumed jurisdiction to entertain the suit against the 1st Respondent (Appellant).”
2. “The learned trial judge erred in law and fact when he held that the Affidavit in support of the 1st Respondent’s Originating Summons dated February 21, 2014 was uncontroverted by the Appellant.”
3. “The learned trial judge erred in law and fact when he held that Paragraph 4 of the Appellant’s Counter Affidavit dated March 19, 2014 filed in opposition to the 1st Respondent’s Originating Summons offended section 115 of the Evidence Act and thereby refused to consider the Appellant’s Counter Affidavit (together with the exhibits attached thereto) and Written Address dated March 19, 2014.”
4. “The learned trial judge erred in law and in fact when he granted exemplary damages against the Appellant and the 2nd and 3rd Respondents jointly and severally in the sum of NGN50 Million which were not specifically pleaded.”
Counsel to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation maintains that dispute between the Appellant and the 1st Respondent is related to/connected with dispute over the interpretation and application of the provisions of Chapter IV of this Constitution as it relates to the employment of the 1st Respondent as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and seizure of his work-related Passport (Diplomatic Passport) issued him by virtue of his employment as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. That by virtue of Sections 254C(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Third Alteration) Act, 2010, the Federal High Court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the matter of seizure of work related passport (Diplomatic Passport) of the 1st Respondent and his fundamental rights thereto as they are matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
Chief (Dr) Ozekhome, SAN and Dr Ajogwu, SAN on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation also filed a Motion for Stay of Execution pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal. No date has been fixed for both the Appeal and Motion for Stay of Execution.