Alleged extra-judicial killings: lawyer files leave to appeal against judgment

An Abuja-based human rights and constitutional lawyer, Emmanuel Ekpenyong, has filed a motion for leave to appeal at the Supreme Court, the judgment of Court of Appeal, Abuja delivered on March 27, which dismissed his case against the Federal Government.

It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal had, on March 27, dismissed Ekpenyong’s appeal on the alleged prevalence of extra-judicial killings in the country and affirmed the decision of the trial court.

The appellate court upheld a Federal High Court (FHC) Abuja judgment delivered by Justice Nkeonye Maha, on May 6, 2022, that dismissed his suit seeking to address the alleged increasing cases of extra-judicial killings by the law enforcement agencies and non-state actors in Nigeria.

The three-member Justices, chaired by Justice Joseph Oyewole, unanimously held that the appellant, Ekpenyong of the law firm of Fred-Young and Evans LP, lacked requisite locus standi (legal right) to institute the suit.

Justice Oyewole-led panel also awarded a N250, 000 c
osts against the lawyer.

However, in a notice of notion for leave to appeal marked: CA/ABJ/PRE/ROA/CU/582mi/2024 between Emmanuel Ekpenyong Esq. Vs. President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, the lawyer sought two orders.

The motion, dated and filed June 5, was made available to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.

He sought an order granting him leave to appeal against the decision of the Appeal Court in appeal number: CA/ABJ/CV/1200/2022, on grounds of mixed law and facts as set out in his proposed notice of appeal annexed as ‘Exhibit JO3.’

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He also sought an order granting leave to him to appeal against the concurrent findings of the FHC in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/755/2020; and the judgment of the Appeal Court in appeal no. CA/ABJ/CV/1200/2022; on the extent of his right to life guaranteed under Section 33 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

In the proposed notice of appeal, Ekpenyong
contended that the Appeal Court justices misdirected themselves and erred in law when they held that reasonable cause of action vest him with the requisite locus standi to institute the suit.

He said the judges also erred in law when they failed to consider the provisions of Article 3 (e) of the Fundamental Right Enforcement Procedure Rules, 2009 which confirmed his locus standi in the suit.

He said instead, they relied on the general principle of law on reasonable cause to arrive at the conclusion that he had no locus standi to institute his fundamental human right suit.

He argued that the appellate court erred in law when they held that his suit for interpretation of the extent of his constitutional right to life enshrined in Section 33 (1) of the Constitution did not disclose a reasonable cause of action and is mere academic and hypothetical.

According to him, the Court of Appeal did not state why the surviving paragraphs of the affidavit in support of the originating summons did not constitute a reaso
nable cause of action.

Ekpenyong equally argued that the court erred in law when it affirmed the trial court’s award of N100, 000 costs against him and awarded an additional cost of N250, 000 against him, even where the trial court did not state its reason for the fine.

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Besides, he said that no valid reason could be seen from the Court of Appeal’s sanction as well against him for prosecuting a suit for interpretation of his constitutional right to life enshrined in Section 33 (1) of the Constitution’

Against these backgrounds, he argued that ‘the findings of both the trial court and Court of Appeal is perverse and was reached as a result of a wrong approach to the evidence before them and a wrong application of principle of substantive law and procedure.’

He said there was a need for him to appeal their decision to the Supreme Court for the court to interfere with the findings of both courts.

‘This constitutes an exceptional circu
mstance for this Honourable Court to grant this application,’ Ekpenyong said.

He equally said that being dissatisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal, he is desirous of appealing against the concurrent findings in the judgment of both the lower and upper courts on questions of mixed law and facts.

The lawyer said the application is made in the interest of justice.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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