We are marginalised from holding public office -Lagosians tell court

 We are marginalised from holding public office -Lagosians tell court

By Dayo Badmus, 

A group under the aegis of Lagosians Advocacy Group (LAG) has dragged the Federal Character Commission (FCC) and 18 others before Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of a Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged continuous and deliberate violation of constitutional rights of Lagos State indigenes regarding appointments into public offices and career positions.

The suit was filed by four legal practitioners; Yakubu Eleto, Adeyemi Onikoro, Shittu Akeem and Nurudeen Aregbeshola. Others are; Chief Muhammed Jamiu, Madam Titilayo Medeme Ogun and Gbenga Agoro (for themselves and on behalf of LAG)

However, the Nigeria President, Attorney General of the Federation, The Senate, Lagos State Governor, Attorney General of Lagos State, Lagos State House of Assembly, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were some of the defendants.

Others are; Head of Service of the Federation, Federal Civil Service Commission, Head of Service of Lagos State, Lagos State Civil Service Commission, Lagos State Local Government Service Commission, Lagos State House of Assembly Service Commission, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Lagos State Teaching Service Commission and Lagos State Health Service Commission. They were joined as 2nd to 19th defendants.

At the hearing of the suit, the plaintiffs were represented by Yakubu Eleto, while the 5th, 7th, 13th and 19th defendants were represented by Olamide Ibrahim. M.S. Saliu represented the 8th defendant while Adeleke Ogunnuga represented the 9th defendant.

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In his arguments, Eleto told the court that the plaintiffs have filed their responses to the preliminary objections filed by other parties that were represented in court.

Responding to issues raised in the preliminary objections, Eleto maintained that it is settled law that members of LAG can maintain the action in their personal and representative capacities notwithstanding that the group is not registered as a legal entity.

He also faulted claims by the defendants that the plaintiffs have no ‘locus standi’ to institute the action.

The lawyer argued that Section 6 (b) of the Constitution has created a constitutional ‘locus standi’ in matters relating to challenges to the provisions of the Constitution and statutory enactments under it and the issue of sufficient interest required in other ordinary cases is inapplicable.

He consequently submitted that the objection of the defendants to ‘locus standi’ of the plaintiffs to maintain an action in respect of breach or non-compliance with the constitutional and statutory provisions as it relates to indigenes of Lagos State is misconceived and should be discountenanced.

He also described the submissions of the defendants that the suit as premised on non-compliance with the constitutional provisions of Section 13 and 14 contained in Chapter 2 of the Constitution is non-justiciable as misconceived.

The defendants have contended in their preliminary objections that the plaintiffs have no ‘locus standi’ to institute the action and that the substance of the case is not justiciable.

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The defendants also contended that the suit was wrongly initiated by way of originating motions.

After listening to the submissions of parties, Justice Allagoa adjourned the matter to April 11, 2022 for judgment.

 

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