A lawyer and activist, Sambo Muritala, has sued President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federal and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami before a Federal High Court in Ilorin, Kwara State, presided over by Justice N. I. Afolabi.
The suit was brought through originating summons under Order 3, Rules 6 and 9 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure, Rules 2009; Section 14 and 147 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The plaintiff prayed the court to determine whether or not Buhari has observed the dictates of Federal Character in the appointment of his ministers as provided for in Section 147 of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended when Ministers of State who, according to him, have no constitutional recognition and obligation, are shared and apportioned to 14 states of Nigeria, as against full-fledged ministers representing other states of the federation.
Muritala, who is also an Ilorin-based legal practitioner, further urged the court to determine whether or not Buhari has not offended Section 138 of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended by holding executive role of the Minister of Petroleum during the pendency of his tenure as the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He prayed the court that if the answers to the questions are in the affirmative, to declare that Buhari is incapable of holding the post of Minister of Petroleum during the pendency of his tenure as the President of the country.
Muritala added that the court should declare that appointment of Ministers of State as representatives of some states in Nigeria is unconstitutional as, according to him, same do not reflect federal character as enshrined in sections 14 and 147 of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The plaintiff urged the court to make an order compelling and/or directing Buhari to appoint ministers in those states in place of Ministers of State earlier appointed.
Sambo Muritala also prayed the court for an order directing Buhari to relinquish the post of Minister of Petroleum to any person of his choice in line with the Constitution as, according to him, same runs contrary to the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He also pleaded with the court for such further or other orders as the court might deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, Muritala moved an ex parte application and prayed the court for substituted service.
He pleaded the court that Buhari and Malami be served through substituted service by sending the originating summons and all other processes of court through DHL and file the endorsement and return copy to the court.
The judge granted the applications and adjourned the matter till February 21 for hearing.