Court rules on inauguration of ministers suit today


An Abuja Federal High Court will today rule on the suit challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s planned inauguration of the federal cabinet and sanctity of constitutional provisions in the case filed by Musa Baba-Panya and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/878/19.

In the suit, which has President Buhari and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as first and second respondents, Baba-Panya argues that the President’s failure to nominate a minister from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja was not only unconstitutional, but also a breach of Appeal Court’s decision on the matter.

Baba-Panya also held in his originating summons of August 8, 2019, that the planned inauguration should not hold, since the list “is incomplete, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”

Although the office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has announced that the inauguration of the 43 ministers-designate would hold on Wednesday August 21, 2019, today’s ruling would determine whether the event would proceed as planned.

Analysts believe the ruling would clarify and reinforce position of the law on the constitutional provisions regarding appointment of ministers, particularly the FCT’s status.

The applicant, an indigene of Karu in Abuja, prayed the court for an order to stop the planned inauguration of the ministers, stressing that the Appeal Court ruling on the case was a compelling order.

Joined by Sylvanus Tanko, a lawyer, the applicant maintained that should the inauguration hold, the President would have instituted an illegal cabinet and violated the rights of FCT indigenes to ministerial representation.

Baba-Panya dismissed insinuations that he was pursuing a personal interest, adding that all former presidents have been violating the rights of FCT indigenes, particularly in the last 20 years of the nation’s democracy.

He stated that not minding that Buhari had nominated 43 ministers, the minimum requirement of the constitution that stipulates one minister each from the 36 states of the federation and FCT has not been met.

“The first defendant stands in contempt of law and court for his brazen refusal to comply with the tenor of the Abuja Division of Court of Appeal judgment of January 15, 2018 compelling him to the immediate and forthwith appointment off an indigene of FCT, Abuja as minister of the federation,” he said.

Justice Abdul Kafarati said today’s ruling would either help the law or harm it, as the applicants had a proviso that if the court does not deem it fit to grant the interim injunction, “our prayer in the alternative is for an order of the court urging the President and the AGF to show cause why.”

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