Five lawyers and human rights proponents have approached the Calabar Judicial Division of the Federal High Court in a public interest litigation suit seeking to enforce the fundamental rights of Honourable Justice Akon Ikpeme over the non confirmation by the Cross River State House of Assembly on the discriminatory ground that he poses a security risk, not being an indigene of the State.
The Applicants listed in the suit are Kunle Edun, Esq., the current Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ike Augustine Esq, an Owerri based legal Practitioner, Emmanuel Ewere, O. Adams Ochuagu, and Adedapo Adejumo, Abuja based legal Practitioners while the Respondents are Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Cross River State House of Assembly and Government of Cross River State.
The Suit was filed on Friday the 13th Day of March, 2020, with Suit No: FHC/CA/FHR/31/2020.
The date for mention of the Suit is expected to be out on Monday the 16/3/2020.
The reliefs sought by the Applicants are:
- A DECLARATION that Hon. Justice Akon Ikpeme is a citizen of Nigeria and entitled to be appointed to any office in Cross River State by virtue of her citizenship and is guaranteed the right to freedom from discrimination by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
- A DECLARATION that the Non-Confirmation of Hon Justice Akon Ikpeme as the substantive Chief Judge of Cross River State by the Cross River State House of Assembly solely on the basis that she is not from Cross River State is unlawful, unconscionable, discriminatory and amounts to a gross violation of her constitutionally Fundamental Human Rights to freedom from discrimination.
- A DECLARATION that the non-confirmation of Hon. Justice Akon Ikpeme as the substantive Chief Judge of Cross River State by the Cross River State House of Assembly on the basis that she is not from Cross River State and therefore a security risk is a violent contravention of her Fundamental Human Rights to freedom from discrimination.
- AN ORDER setting aside the decision of the Cross River State House of Assembly made on the 2nd of March, 2020 as to the Non confirmation of Hon. Justice Akon Ikpeme for being a nullity as same is in gross violation of her fundamental right to freedom from discrimination.
- EXEMPLARY AND SPECIAL DAMAGES in the sum of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira only) against the Respondents jointly and severally for the untold hardship and public ridicule/humiliation suffered by Hon. Justice Akon Ikpeme as a result of the violation of her right to freedom from discrimination.
AND for such further or other Order(s) as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this application.
This suit becomes necessary considering the alarming rate of unconstitutional acts and impunity by some authorities. The Applicants are hopeful that the Court as the last home of citizens shall do justice to the matter.
Ike Augustine, Esq.