Human Rights lawyer, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, has sued the Federal Government at the Federal High Court, Abuja for allegedly preventing Nigerian citizens right to keep and bear arms for the preservation of life, liberty and property.
Among the respondents in the suit is the president of Nigeria, the Attorney general of the federation and 74 others.
In an originating summon marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1078/2021, Omirhobo asked the court to determine whether by the interpretation and/or construction of Sections 33 (1), 34(1)(a), 35(1), 37, 40, 41 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution and in line with the social contract between the 1st defendant and Nigerians.
He stated that the plaintiff and Nigerian citizens are entitled to “right to life, right to dignity of human person, right to personal liberty, right to private and family life, right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, right to freedom of movement and to reside anywhere in Nigeria and right to own movable and immovable property in Nigeria except when these rights are being derogated or limited by law.”
He asked the court to say whether, by the combined interpretation and/or construction of Sections 3, 6(2)(a)(b)(c)(d)(e) of the Fire Arms Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and sections 33(1)(2)(a)(b), 34(1)(a), 35(1), 36, 37, 43 of the 1999 Constitution; sections 281, 282, 286 and 287 of the Criminal Code Act and sections 40, 45, 46 and 47 of the Penal Code Act, it is lawful, legal and constitutional for the 2nd defendant to refuse, fail and/or neglect to grant the plaintiff license to possess and own an A6 147 premium, AK 47 Assault Rifle based on the plaintiff’s application of July 8, 2021, to enable him to exercise his constitutional right to self defence.
The lawyer stated that the 2nd defendant received his application on July 9, 2021.
He said that he sent the application to protect his life, family and property and also for the safeguard of his fundamental rights as enshrined and guaranteed by the constitution in the face of the high level of insecurity ravaging Nigeria and the inability of the defendants to meet up with their primary responsibility of protecting life and property from the attacks of heavily and well-armed criminals with AK 47, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG) and other sophisticated weapons.
In a 123 paragraph affidavit, Omirhobo said the constitution guarantees every Nigerian citizen the fundamental rights to dignity of the human person, personal liberty, private and family life, peaceful assembly and association, freedom of movement and right to own moveable and immoveable property.
He added that the constitution gives every Nigerian the right to defend his fundamental rights from unlawful violence.
He said: “In collaboration with the Nigerian constitution, both the Criminal Code Act and Penal Code Act gives every Nigerian citizen the right to self defence by applying the use of such force as they believe on reasonable grounds to be necessary to prevent their fundamental rights to life, the dignity of the human person, personal, liberty, private and family life, peaceful assembly and association, freedom of movement and right to own moveable and immoveable property from unlawful violence.”
Omirhobo, therefore, prayed the court to declare that the killings, raping, sodomising, extorting, kidnapping, abduction brutalisation, dehumanisation, debasement, destruction of property, the restriction of the freedom of movement and right of residence, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, family and private life and the seizing of property of defenceless Nigerians by heavily armed criminals with unlicensed AK 47 Assault rifle, GPMG and other sophisticated weapons is a violation of these rights and therefore illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
He, therefore, wants the court to declare that it is legal, lawful and constitutional for the 2nd defendant to revoke the gun licenses of Nigerians via proclamation and/or executive order in the face of the high level of insecurity in Nigeria and thereby depriving them of their rights to self-defence and in the process exposing them to the way of harms in the hands of heavily armed criminals with AK 47 Assault rifles GPMG and other sophisticated weapons.
The applicant, therefore, asked the court for an order compelling the 2nd defendant and 4th defendant (Inspector General of Police) with all the commissioner’s of police in Nigeria to renew all expired gun licenses upon application of all Nigerians who are qualified to retain their gun licenses to enable them to exercise their rights to self-defence and safeguard their fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution from the attacks of heavily and well-armed criminals with sophisticated weapons.