6 Kogi Lawyers Drag Buhari To Court Over Replacement Of Late James Ocholi

Some lawyers who are indigenes of Kogi state have sued President Muhammadu Buhari over his refusal to appoint a replacement for the late minister of state for labour and productivity James Ocholi.

The lawyers in a suit with number: FHC/LKJ/C/08/2017 said the refusal of the president to appoint a minister from the state to replace Ocholi after over one year his death is unacceptable.

The Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi state capital had earlier ordered that the service of suit on President Buhari and the attorney general of federation Abubakar Malami.

Court papers seen by NAIJ.com shows that the lawyers – Felix Okolo, Femi Victor Motojesi, Samuel Ogala, Dickson Enema, David, Adegbe and Titilope Akerejola prayed the court to order President Buhari and Malami to within 30 days of service, inclusive of the day of service to answer questions on the legal and constitutional effect of the president’s refusal to appoint a minister from Kogi state.

The originating summon sought reply to: “Whether the current composition of the federal executive council of the federation without a substantive minister representing Kogi state in the Federal Executive Council fro over 10 months is not a breach of Section 143 (3) of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.”

“Whether the failure of the first defendant to appoint a substantive minister from Kogi state into the Federal Executive Council is not a flagrant and violent breach of the principal of equality and justice upon which the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended is founded.

The lawyers also asked: “Whether by virtue of the provision of sections 147 (3) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, the first defendant has a mandatory duty to appoint an indigene of Kogi state as minister of the federation into the Federal Executive Council.”

The lawyers in their suit sought the relief of the court to declare that he current composition of the FEC without a substantive minister representing Kogi state is a breach of the Nigerian constitution.

They also sought a court declaration that the failure of President Buhari to appoint a minister from Kogis since the death of Ocholi is a violent breach of the principle of equalukity and justice premised in the constitution.

They also prayed the court to declare that the president’s duty to appoint a Kogi state minister is mandatory.

The suit filed by the Kogi state lawyers was supported by an affidavit written by Felix Okolo.

Late Ocholi, the former minister of state for labour and productivity and an indigene of Kogi state died on a car accident along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway on March 6, 2016.

He was a lawyer by profession and was granted the title of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2007.

He died alongside his wife and son in a crash the Federal Road Safety Corps through a preliminary investigative report said was caused by a busted tyre.

Melaye while speaking at the National Assembly in December, 2016, said the failure of President Buhari to appoint a minister from Kogi state is aimed at ostracizing the people of the state.

He also said that such act may force Kogi state indigenes to seek ‘alternative measures’ on the matter.

“We, Kogi People have been ostracized; nine months is too long a time to replace a minister. We have lost so much, we don’t want to lose again,” Melaye had said.

“Kogi people are not begging. It is our right. If it (replacement) is not done, we will take alternative measures. We have a right to civil disobedience,” he noted.

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