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Court dismisses suit seeking N130m compensation for ex-CJN Onnoghen

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The suit, filed by one Dr N.S. Nwawka, had urged the court to declare that the NIS violated Onnoghen’s fundamental rights for waylaying him at the airport and preventing him from travelling abroad without a court order.

The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a lawsuit seeking N130m compensation for former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (retd.), for being stopped from travelling abroad on November 11, 2019 by the Nigeria Immigration Service.

Nwawka also challenged the alleged refusal of the Federal Government to pay Onnoghen his terminal benefits, after the ex-CJN prematurely retired following his prosecution for asset declaration breaches at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

But in an October 12, 2020 judgment, Justice Taiwo Taiwo dismissed Nwawka’s suit for lack of locus standi.

The judge said Nwawka failed to disclose how his interest was affected by the Onnoghen case, wondering whether Onnoghen was even interested in fighting a legal battle against anybody.

Justice Taiwo held, “I have looked at the originating processes filed by the applicant herein, with due respect to him, I do not see any nexus between him and the respondents jointly or severally. I do not see his remote or immediate interest in the matter in which he has not been instructed to file by the former Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I pose a question to him and this is whether the former CJN has told him that he is incapable of fighting his own battle or that he is even ready for any battle against anybody.

“The applicant herein argued that the action is competent because, according to him, it is a public interest action within the contemplation of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules. I am of the well-considered view that this is not a public interest matter to which the rules on fundamental rights apply.

“I, therefore, dismiss the action filed by the applicant. The action, to say the least, is a waste of the time of the court. If the applicant has time to file this type unmeritorious action, the time of the court is valuable and should not be wasted. Case dismissed. This is the judgment of the court.”

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