The Federal High Court, Abuja has cautioned counsels for the Department of State Services and the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, against stalling proceedings in the ongoing suit between them.
Justice Binta Nyako gave the warning on Wednesday following an oral application by the DSS counsel, Idowu Awo, wherein he sought more time to respond to a further affidavit served on him by Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, in the open court.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 2341/2022, Kanu, through his team of lawyers, had sued the DSS and its Director General as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
He had prayed the court, amongst other things, for permission to apply for an order of mandamus compelling the DSS to allow him to have unhindered access to his medical doctor.
The court had, on February 1, granted Kanu the permission to apply for an order of mandamus he sought after an ex parte motion moved by his counsel, Ozekhome, to the effect.
But in a preliminary objection filed by the DSS, the security agency urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
It maintained that there was a subsisting judgement of a sister court delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on June 3, 2022, in suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1585/2021 between Kanu and DG of DSS and two others wherein the court dealt substantially with the issue of allowing the IPOB leader access to his physician.
It said the instant suit was similar to the earlier one and that Kanu had filed an appeal against the judgement.
On resumed hearing, Ozekhome informed the court that he had responded to the DSS notice of preliminary objection.
After Awo applied for an order for an extension of time to file their processes, Ozekhome also prayed for a consequential order deeming their further affidavit as duly filed and they were granted by the court.
Responding, Awo said he was just being served with the further affidavit and would require more time to study the document to ascertain whether fresh facts had been raised, adding that the document was 60-paragraph but embedded in 15-paragraph.
“It is also accompanied by a judgement from Abia State as an exhibit.
“In the circumstance, we will be asking for a short day,” he said.
Ozekhome, however, said that in the counter affidavit filed by the security agency, they alleged that Kanu jumped bail.
He said, “We have to respond to the circumstances under which he left Nigeria and those facts had been validated by Abia Court in Umuahia,” adding that they had to serve the further affidavit on Tuesday because the DSS served them on Friday.
He said the DSS was in the habit of serving them with their processes late to delay the hearing.
Ruling for adjournment, Justice Nyako warned that she would not tolerate any act that might further delay proceedings.
The judge adjourned the matter until May 22 for a hearing adding that she “will not allow this case to be truncated in the next adjourned date.
“There must be an end to the exchange of processes,” she concluded.