Six lawyers drag Buhari to court over refusal to appoint Ocholi’s replacement

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Six lawyers have dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court for failing to appoint a replacement for the late Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, James Ocholi (SAN).

The lawyers are: Felix Okolo, Femi Victor Motojesi, Samuel Ogala, Dickson Enema, David Adegbe and Titilope Akerejola.

The lawyers are suing President Buhari for refusing to appoint a ministerial filler to close the vacuum created by the death of the former minister which has made the people of Kogi state to be exempted from representation at the federal executive arm of the government.

Recall that the Late Mr. James Ocholi, representing Kogi state, his son and wife  were killed on Sunday, March 6th, 2016 in a ghastly motor accident along Kaduna-Abuja express way. The incident occurred 57 kilometers away from Kaduna when the Jeep they were driving had a rear-tyre bust, skidded off the road, and somersaulted several times into the bush, the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC had confirmed.

Late James-Ocholi

However, in a suit filed at the Federal High Court, Lokoja on Thursday, with number: FHC/LKJ/C/08/2017, the six lawyers prayed the court to mandate President Buhari to appoint a replacement immediately, describing his refusal to make the appointment for the replacement of late Ocholi as a breach of the constitution.

They also prayed the court to order President Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami to, within 30 days of service, inclusive of the day of service, to answer questions on the legal and constitutional effect of the president’s refusal to appoint a minister from Kogi state.

The originating summon sought reply to: “Whether the current composition of the federal executive council of the federation without a substantive minister representing Kogi state in the Federal Executive Council for over 10 months is not a breach of Section 143 (3) of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.”

“Whether the failure of the first defendant to appoint a substantive minister from Kogi state into the Federal Executive Council is not a flagrant and violent breach of the principal of equality and justice upon which the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended is founded.”

The lawyers also asked: “Whether by virtue of the provision of sections 147 (3) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, the first defendant has a mandatory duty to appoint an indigene of Kogi state as minister of the federation into the Federal Executive Council.”

The matter has been fixed for hearing on Wednesday, May 3 at the Federal High Court in Kogi state.

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