***Describes suit as undemocratic, barbaric, depreciative
A socio-cultural group, FCT Concerned Natives, has dissociated itself from a suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja by individuals purporting to be representing residents and registered voters of the FCT against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
According to a statement signed by Bitrus Lawrence Garki, on behalf of FCT Concerned Natives, the group said that the “mischievous” suit was filed against the swearing in of the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima.
The group called on all well-meaning Nigerians to stay calm and allow the law to take its course, urging all peace loving Nigerians resident in the FCT to refrain from inciting the public.
The statement reads: “We are aware of a suit in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/578/2023, filed at the Federal High Court by individuals who purport to be representing residents and registered voters of the FCT other than the Original Inhabitants against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
“In the said suit, the plaintiffs seek, among other things, an order of Court to restrain the CJN from swearing in the President and Vice President Elect pending the final determination on whether or not they have fulfilled the requirement of Section 134 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“We, on behalf of the Indigenous people of the FCT, do hereby categorically disassociate ourselves from the individuals who initiated the suit and indeed the suit.
“For the avoidance of doubts, while conceding to the plaintiffs, and indeed any other person the right to initiate any action as they may wish, we take the liberty to restate our commitment to the ideals of the rule of law and due process embodied in our constitution and electoral act. Any veiled attempt to deviate from the rule of law is undemocratic, barbaric and calls for deprecation.
“Without prejudice to the doctrine of les pendence (pendency of the suit) to the best of our understanding of the constitutional provisions presidential tenure of office is four years and there is no provision otherwise and so the swearing in a new government is sacrosanct. Anything otherwise would create a vacuum and indeed a constitutional contraption.
“In view of the preceding, we hereby call on all well-meaning Nigerians to stay calm and allow the law to take its course. We want to use this opportunity to call on all peace loving Nigerians resident in the FCT to refrain from inciting the public.
“Since 1999, all elections have been challenged in competent courts of jurisdiction, but none has ever stopped inauguration and swearing-in of a new government. This cannot be expected to be any different.
“In view of the need to maintain peace, order and rule of law, for any individual or groups that have any issue with the just concluded elections, we implore them to employ due legal means without provocations.
“We wish to reintegrate our call for law abiding citizens to join the law abiding and peace loving citizens to ensure maintenance of tranquil atmosphere for the successful handover and sustenance of peaceful neighborliness.