Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Hearing in the suit by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) seeking to set aside the ex parte order that proscribed it as a terror organisation has been adjourned to September 11 by the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
The court fixed the date after granting an application filed by the Federal Government to be allowed to regularise processes it filed in opposition to the suit.
The Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr Dayo Apata, counsel to the Federal Government, applied for extension of the time to enable him file a counter affidavit as to why the proscription order against activities of the IMN in the country, should not be vacated.
The FG’s request for extension of time was not opposed by counsel to the IMN, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, who, however, persuaded the court to set-down the matter for hearing.
Justice Evelyn Maha granted the ex parte motion filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, declaring the activities of the IMN in any part of Nigeria illegal, branding operations of the group as “acts of terrorism and illegality.”
In her order made on July 26, Justice Maha restrained any person or group of persons from participating in any form of activity involving or concerning the group “under any name or platform,” in Nigeria.
She directed the AGF to gazette the proscription order, a directive FG had since complied with.
However, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/876/2019, the IMN contended that Justice Maha, who is sitting as the vacation judge, made the orders without jurisdiction, saying it was made against “a non juristic body”.
The group has insisted that the order FG obtained against it was illegal, unconstitutional and an abuse of the judicial procedure.
In the suit it predicated on Order 26 Rules 6(1), 9 and 10 of the Federal High Court Rules 2019, section 6(6) (1) (4), sections 36, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the IMN said it was denied fair hearing by the court. It maintained that the proscription order was “anchored on misrepresentation of material facts and based on suppression of material facts” by the government.