Hearing in IMN’s suit challenging its proscription suffers setback due to pre-election matters

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*Photo: IMN members at a rally*

Hearing of a suit filed by the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to challenge a court order proscribing its operations in the country could not proceed on Thursday due to pre-election cases before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja.

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The IMN, in a motion on notice marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/876/2019, had sued the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as sole defendant.

In the motion dated August 1, 2019 and filed on August 2, 2019, the Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky-led group had sought an order setting aside, discharging and/or vacating the ex-parte order made on July 26, 2019 by Justice Nkeonye Maha of Abuja FHC in suit No: FHC/A8J/CS/876/2019 between: AGF and the IMN, proscribing its existence and activities in any part of Nigeria under whatever form, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called or referred to.

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It also sought an order setting aside, discharging and/or vacating the ex parte order of the court restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the Islamic group under any other name or platform howsoever called or described in any part of Nigeria.

Part of the grounds giving for the application were that the court made the July 26, 2019 order without jurisdiction, as the order was made against a non-juristic body.

IMN said that the court did not afford it the right of fair hearing when making the order.

Besides, it said that the order breached the fundamental rights of all members of the IMN to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution {as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004 , among others.

At the resumed hearing in the matter on Thursday, the court informed counsel to the IMN and the Federal Government that the case would not be heard due to pre-election matters before the court.

The matter was subsequently fixed for January 24, 2023.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the adjournment, lawyer to the IMN, Haruna Magashi lamented that the case had suffered serious adjournments eversince it was instituted in 2019.

“It is quite unfortunate. Our judicial system supposed to look at cases before our courts.

“Some cases, like the fundamental rights enforcement suits, are more important than elections matters. These should take precedence over election matters.

“This, to my opinion, is not the best and I call on the stakeholders in the justice sector to consider this and hear important cases like matters of enforcement of fundamental rights vis-a-vis the election matters because one is not more important than the other,” Magashi said.

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