By Lazarus Zakaa , Abuja
Executive Director, Initiative Against Human Rights Abuse and Torture, Bar. Maxwell Opara Esq, has accused the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El.Rufai for Using Executive powers to truncate judicial process on the case between the State government and Prof. Chidi Odinkalu.
The Director who made his position known Wednesday while briefing newsmen in Abuja, said the group had had a grave concern arising from successive incidents of manifest bias as well as lack of independence and impartiality, in violation of the applicable constitutional standard.
According to him despite all these, the defense team has dutifully observed its professional obligation to treat the court with due respect.
Bar. Opara maintained that the Magistrate court in kaduna magisterial district on March 2020, held that it has a discretion as to whether or not to obey the specific and direct order of the high court if Kaduna state to stay proceedings in the matter of the state v Chidi Anselm Odinkalu.
He said it is an anomaly because the magistrate court is inferior to the high court, saying the decision of the high court was not discretionary, but rather an order and must be obeyed.
He explained that, on the 9th of August, 2019 the defense team filed a notice of preliminary objection pursuant to section 36 of the 1999 constitution of the for federal republic of nigeria, section 2 of the Broadcasting Commission Act 1992 challenging the competence of the direct criminal complaint filed by the DPP of the Kaduna state on the following grounds;
Lack of subject matter and territorial jurisdiction to institute the direct criminal complaint, which reportedly arose from an interview granted by Prof. Chidi Odinkalu on a channels television, a broadcast according to him that occurred and emanated from Abuja.
Direct criminal complaint had Chidi Odinkalu’s address on the face of it but was never served on him, yet proceedings began, held and were adjourned three times without the defendant in a criminal proceeding.
That the “case” does not have a case number, therefore the direct criminal complaint and any order purporting to be based on it are a nullity because they did not exist and could have existed.
Bar. Opera added that on August 9, 2019, the legal team filed a preliminary objection supported by an affidavit with 3 Exhibit in support of her claim, appearing before the magistrate for the first time on September 18, 2019 having filed preliminary objection upon coming into an information of the possibility of he case.
He explained that on December, 6 2019 a caller who identity himself as Mallam Umar, claiming to be a Registrar with the court, informed the defence council that the court would convene on Monday, December 9 2019 at 11:00hours.
According to him no hearing notice was issued or served on Defence ahead of the ruling. But however ruled that the magistrate court had jurisdiction because the interview was conducted on channels Television Lagos. A claimed they said was not clearly part of the record and that the effect of the offence was felt in Kaduna.
Following the ruling, the defence filed an application for judicial review by way of certiorari before justice Daka J, on January 20, 2020.
He said the high court granted leave for certiorari in respect of the case between the state v Chidi Odinkalu and stipulated “that the grant of leave shall operate in the interim of stay proceedings…. Pending the hearing of the motion on notice”.
Yet, despite the magistrate’s knowledge of and participation in the certiorari proceedings and despite being served with the order of the high court to stay proceedings, the magistrate, Ibrahim Musa decided that he has jurisdiction as to whether or not to obey the order if the high court”. He said.
In violation of the Order of the superior court, the Executive Director said the the magistrate I was being instructed by the Governor of Kaduna state to overruled and disobey high court orde