The National Human Rights Commission has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside its order of a stay of execution of the commission’s investigation report which awarded N135m to relatives and victims of the attack and killing of some squatters in Apo, Abuja.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole had on June 27, 2014, in his ruling on the ex parte application filed by the State Security Services, ordered a stay of execution of the report.
The judge had equally granted leave to the SSS to apply for an order of certiorari to quash the decisions and awards contained in the NHRC’s report on complaint No: C/2013/7908/HQ.
The court also granted leave to the SSS to serve the commission with the originating motion, which is the main suit.
The NHRC had in its report released in April 2014 blamed the SSS and the Nigerian Army for the killing of eight and injuring of 11 of the squatters in an uncompleted building in September 2013.
The security forces had attacked the squatters on the allegation that they were suspected members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect.
The human rights commission, through its counsel, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), rejected the order of a stay of execution of its investigation report on the incident, arguing among others, that the manner of commencing the suit did not comply with the law.
The commission is praying for “an order setting aside the enrolled order of this court dated June 27, 2014 which was served on the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants on July 1, 2014.
“An order setting aside the service of the originating motion on notice dated June 30, 2014 which was served on the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants on July 1, 2014 due to non-compliance with the provisions of Order 3 Rule 12(1) and (3) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009.”
It also faulted the orders made by the court on the grounds that it and its officials were erroneously listed as plaintiffs in the suit when actually they did not institute the suit.
The first to the fourth respondents to the suit which was instituted by the SSS for the review of the NHRC’s report of investigation are the commission’s chairman, Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, its secretary, Prof. Bem Angwe, its other official, Saudatu Mahdi, and the NHRC itself.
Other respondents are, Global Rights, Human Rights Law Service, National Association of Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief of Army Staff and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The commission’s grounds for the application read in part, “The applicant failed, refused, and or neglected to give the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants the notice prescribed by section 18(3) and (4) of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act 2010 before instituting the action in court.
“The enrolled order served on the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants described them (1st to 4th applicants/respondents) as plaintiffs in this case when this suit was not instituted by them.
“The enrolled order served on the 1st to 4th respondents/applicants is nullity.
“The condition precedent for the commencement of this proceeding has not been fulfilled.”
The commission added that the originating motion served on it and its officials were a nullity as they were not certified and verified by the court registrar in line with Order 3 Rule 12(3) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules.
It also argued that the suit amounted to a nullity on the grounds that it was not entered for hearing within 14 days of which the court granted leave for the suit to be instituted, as stated in Order 34 Rule 5(4) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules.
The NHRC had in the case tagged, Global Rights and 3 others vs. Federal Republic of Nigeria and 3 others, ordered the Federal Government to, among others, pay a total of N135m as compensation to the victims.
The SSS was expected to pay N10m for each of those killed and N5m to each of the 11 injured survivors.
But the SSS said it was never invited or interrogated during the preliminary investigations conducted by the NHRC in respect to the incident.