Alex Enumah in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police (IG) have been dragged before a Federal High Court, Abuja over their refusal to grant Nigerians licences for the possession of assault rifles for self-defence.
The suit filed by human rights lawyer, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, was predicated on alleged claim that the federal government has failed to uphold its constitutional obligation of the protection of life.
By the suit Omirhobo is asking the court for interpretation of relevant sections of the Firearms Act, Criminal Code Act and other relevant laws as to whether it is lawful, legal and constitutional for the second defendant (President) to refuse, fail or neglect to grant him licence to possess an assault rifle for protection of his life and that of his family.
In the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/1078/2021, the plaintiff is particularly seeking, “A declaration that he and other Nigerian citizens are entitled to defend themselves against unlawful violence of being killed, raped, sodomized, extorted, kidnapped, abducted, brutalised, dehumanised, debased, deprived of their rights to private and family life, freedom of movement, right of residency, peaceful assembly and association and protection of their property from the attacks of heavily armed criminals with AK 47 Assault rifle, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG) and other sophisticated weapons, by means of licensed fire arms.
“A declaration that the refusal, failure and/or neglect of the defendants to abate the killings, raping, sodomizing, extorting, kidnapping, abduction, brutalization, dehumanization, 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 Nigerian citizens: by heavily armed criminals with unlicensed AK 47 Assault rifle, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG) and other sophisticated weapons is a breach of the social contract between the defendants and Nigerian citizens”
The lawyer is specifically seeking a declaration that “it is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional for the second defendant (President ) 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 8/7/2021 which the 2nd Defendant received on 9/7/2021 to enable the Plaintiff exercise his constitutional right to self-defense for protection life and property.”
He also seeks court’s declaration that it is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional for the 6th to 16th defendants (36 states of their Attorney-Generals) not to apply for firearms license from the 2nd and 4th Defendants and the Commissioner of Police of their various States for the protection of the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens within their domain.
Other defendants in the suit are the Minister of Defence, Attorney General of Federation, (AGF), 36 states and their Attorneys-General.
At yesterday’s proceedings, only Lagos, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom and Edo were represented in court while others sought adjournment in the hearing of the suit.
Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, had, however, fixed January 24, 2023 for hearing.
The Judge also ordered that the processes including hearing notice be served on the respondents that have not been served.