The Federal Government has appealed against the judgment of a Federal High Court, Lagos, which awarded N50m against it, the police and the State Security Services for unlawful detention of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, and seizure of his passport.
Justice Ibrahim Buba had on Thursday ordered the three respondents to pay the money to Sanusi and publicly apologise to him for infringing on his rights and embarrassing him.
But the Federal Government, through its lawyers, Mr. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) and Mr. Mike Ozwkhome (SAN), on Friday filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Lagos, asking it to set aside the lower court’s judgment.
The Federal Government which was sued in the suit through the Attorney-General of the Federation, also filed a motion for stay of execution of the judgment, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
The motion for stay of execution was filed before the judgment which delivered the judgment.
The appellant, in its notice of appeal, maintained that Justice Buba erred in law when he assumed jurisdiction to entertain the case against it.
It maintained its argued before the lower court that Sanusi’s suit bordered on the interpretation and application of the provisions of Chapter IV of the Constitution as it related to his employment as the Governor of the CBN and seizure of his work-related passport (Diplomatic Passport).
The Federal Government stated that the diplomatic passport was issued to Sanusi by the virtue of his employment as the CBN governor.
It therefore argued that the Federal Government ought not to have assumed jurisdiction by the virtue of Section 254C(1) of the 1999 Constitution (Third Alteration) Act, 2010.
According to the appellant, the provision of the law conferred the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain such suit on the National Industrial Court.
It maintained that the Federal High Court did not have jurisdiction to entertain the matter of seizure of work related passport (diplomatic passport) of the embattled suspended governor.
It added that the trial judge erred in law and fact when he held that it did not oppose Sanusi’s affidavit in support of his originating summons dated February 21.
The government equally contended that the trial judge erred in law and fact when he held that paragraph 4 of its counter-affidavit dated March 19 filed in opposition to the suspended governor’s originating summons contravened section 115 of the Evidence Act.
It maintained that it was wrong for the judge to have refused to consider its counter-affidavit (together with the exhibits attached thereto) and written address on that basis.
The appellant is also asking the appellate court to set aside the order awarding N50m as damages in favour of Sanusi on the basis it was not specifically pleaded.