Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has dismissed a suit challenging the appointment of Justice Tanko Muhammad as substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court struck out the suit brought by a plaintiff, Omirhobo Foundation, for lack of locus standi to prosecute the case.
While upholding the preliminary objection filed by the defendants in the suit, the court held that the aims and objectives of the group does not permit it to engage in the “public interest litigation” which it claimed to be undertaking by filing the action. Justice Ekwo further held that contrary to the claim of the plaintiff to be a Non-Government Organisation, there was no legislation in Nigeria permitting the registration of any group as such.
The judge also held that no group registered under the Part C of the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), like the plaintiff, could engage in such litigation, calling on the National Assembly to emulate some Commonwealth countries like Uganda and Zimbabwe with separate legislation on registration of NGO.
It was the findings of the court that no object of MOM2 (object of registration) authorises the plaintiff to engage itself in what it called public interest litigation, allowing it to institute this kind of action,” he ruled. “A body is bound strictly by its object of registration,” the court added. He also held that while the plaintiff was registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission as Malcom Omirhobo Foundation but chose to institute the action in the name of ‘Board of Trustees of Malcom Omirhobo Foundation.