Justice James Tsoho of the Federal High Court, yesterday adjourned hearing till April 20, 2015 in the suit on the fundamental rights enforcement filed by National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, against the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah.
Tinubu sued Minimah over his alleged deployment of soldiers to lay siege on his residence on 26, Bourdillon Street, Ikoyi, between February 9 and 11, 2015 on a purported “order from above.”
The court had on March 26, 2015 granted an interim injunction, restraining the military from laying siege on Tinubu’s home and stopping any possible arrest or detention of the applicant during the period of the general elections.
After granting the order, the judge adjourned till yesterday to take the substantive suit. But at the resumed proceeding, only the applicant’s lawyer, Chukwuma Onwuemene, holding the brief of Mr. Femi Falana, SAN was in court. Minimah was not represented.
Onwuemene, however, prayed the court for a short adjournment, saying: “My Lord, considering the nature of this application, we humbly pray for a very short date.”
But Tsoho recalled that the applicant had already secured an interim injunction shielding him from arrest and intimidation by the military, adding that the court could not give any date before the Easter vacation.
He therefore adjourned till April 20 for further hearing of the matter.
Tinubu is seeking a declaration of the court that the military siege on his residence was an infringement on his fundamental human right to private and family life protected under Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The former Lagos State governor also considered the military action as a violation of sections 35 and 42 of the Constitution and Articles 2 and 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.
He claimed that the military action caused him and his family “psychological and mental torture.”
Tinubu’s personal assistant, Sunday Dare, who deposed to an affidavit in support of the action, said: “That the applicant was exposed to embarrassment as many members of the public asked whether he committed any offence, which warranted the siege. That the siege portrayed him as a hardened criminal in the society.”
Tsoho restrained Minimah and his privies from “arresting, detaining, harassing or intimidating the applicant,” until the determination of the substantive suit.