Court dismisses suit seeking N130m compensation for Onnoghen
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has dismissed a suit seeking N130 million compensation for a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, for being stopped from travelling abroad in November last year by Nigeria Immigration Service.
Onnoghen was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari in January last year after he was arraigned for alleged false asset declaration by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
He later retired from the position.
In the suit filed by one Dr. N.S. Nwawka, he urged the court to declare that the NIS violated Onnoghen’s fundamental rights by waylaying him at the airport and prevented him from travelling abroad without a court order.
He also challenged the alleged refusal of the Federal Government to pay the ex-CJN’s terminal benefits after his premature retirement from service.
But in his ruling, Justice Taiwo dismissed Nwawka’s suit for lack of merit.
The judgment was delivered on Monday and the Certified True Copy of the ruling was made available to journalists on Thursday.
The judge said the petitioner failed to disclose how his interest was affected by Onnoghen’s case, saying he was not sure if the ex-CJN was interested in fighting a legal battle with anybody.
He said: “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 of unmeritorious action, the time of the court is valuable and should not be wasted. Case dismissed. This is the judgment of the court.”