A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday struck out a suit brought before it by the suspended Deputy Director, Physical Planning of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Architect Molkat Mutfwang against the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed for lacking in merit.
Mutfwang, who had been on an indefinite suspension since 2009 had asked the court for an order of injunction restraining President Goodluck Jonathan from extending or renewing the tenure of Dr. Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed as UBEC’s Executive Secretary.
Modibbo has handed over to the Deputy Executive Secretary, Technical of the commission, Prof. Charles Onocha after the expiration of his tenure as UBEC boss on 3rd September 2012.
The suspended Deputy Director in the suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/564/2012 and filed on 14th September, 2012 joined Dr. Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed, President Goodluck Jonathan, Secretary to the Federal Government, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Minister of Education and UBEC as 1st to 6th Defendants.
The trial Judge, Justice Abubakar Mohammed, in his judgment yesterday, agreed with Modibbo’s counsel, Ben Anachebe (SAN), that the Plaintiff (Mutfwang) has no locus standi (not legally qualified) to institute the legal action.
The Judge held that the Plaintiff failed to show the court how Modibbo’s appointment as the Executive Secretary of the UBEC will affect him or violates his civil rights.
He held that the Plaintiff is not qualified to institute the legal action as he has no personal interest in or qualified for the office sought to be renewed, adding also that the Plaintiff has not disclosed any special interest or cognizable legal/justiciable right or injury to warrant his substantive claims against the renewal of a public appointment.
Justice Mohammed held that: “The Plaintiff has no locus standi to institute the action, and where a Plaintiff has no locus standi to institute an action, the court lacks the jurisdiction to handle the matter, this suit is accordingly struck out”.
Modibbo had, in a Preliminary Objection filed through his counsel, Ben Anachebe (SAN) said Mutfwang’s suit was a gross abuse of court process and that the Plaintiff, a suspended UBEC staff is currently being tried in a Federal High Court by the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on criminal charges, such as fraud, conspiracy, forgery etc along with other disengaged staff.
Modibbo told the court that the complaints raised against him by the Plaintiff were not only false but were alleged to have occurred during his unblemished first tenure as UBEC Executive Secretary, adding also that there is nothing in the Plaintiff’s affidavit to show that he (Modibbo) has ever been charged, tried or convicted by any court for any misconduct or crime at the instance of his employers or his actions during his first tenure as UBEC boss.
He further stated that the renewal or otherwise of his tenure is a statutory and constitutional exercise at the lawful discretion of the President and noted that, “the reliefs sought in the suit do not confer any personal or tangible interest on the Plaintiff”.