By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
A Supreme Court in Abuja declined a request by former Senator Dino Melaye for a restraining order against the Chamber of Deputies regarding his planned consideration of the controversial Infectious Disease Control Project 2020, also known as the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) Bill.
In a decision on Wednesday, Judge Ijeoma Ojukwu said that he could not issue an order like that requested by Melaye's lawyer, Nkem Okoro, because the plaintiff would not yet serve the President of the Chamber of Deputies (the third interviewee), as previously run by The court.
Okoro, at the start of proceedings on Wednesday, noted that none of the respondents followed the court's previous order to show the reason why a similar restraining order requested ex-parte by the plaintiff should not be granted.
He argued that, in view of the respondents' obvious failure to show the case, the court should order the parties to maintain the status quo, protect the resources (matter) and avoid a situation in which a "fait accompli" is imposed on the court. .
The lawyers, who represented some of the respondents, criticized Okoro's argument and asked the court to hold otherwise.
In her decision, Judge Ojukwu rejected Okoro's request, claiming that the court's order made on May 13, 2020 for respondents to show the cause why they should not be prevented from further considering the bill (as prayed by Melaye in his ex-part motion), was based on the service of legal proceedings (documents) in all respondents.
She added: "Since the precedent of the condition has not been met, I prefer to maintain that the matter continues for the hearing".
Judge Ojukwu proceeded to order that the cases addressed to the speaker be handled by him through the lawyer who represented him in court – Kayode Ajulo.
She directed the parties to close all necessary proceedings and postponed until June 1 for a hearing.
Melaye is, by the action marked FHC / ABJ / CS / 463/2020, brought on May 5, 2020, alleging that the provisions of the Bill violate his fundamental rights, including the right to the dignity of the person, personal freedom, to private and family life, the right to freedom of movement and the right to immovable property in Nigeria.
At the last hearing of the case on May 13, Judge Ojukwu refused a similar sentence for a restraining order against the respondents, as contained in an ex parte motion argued by Melaye's lawyer.
Instead, the judge ordered Melaye to serve the cases to the interviewees, so that they would appear in court and show why the orders sought ex parte by the plaintiff should not be granted and postponed until May 20.
It was in response to the service of the lawsuits over them that some of the respondents appeared in court on Wednesday.
Listed as respondents of the action are the secretary of the National Assembly, the secretary of the Chamber of Deputies, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, the attorney general of the Federation (AGF) and the inspector general of police (IGP).
Officials from the National Assembly and the Chamber of Deputies and AGF were absent on Wednesday. They were also not represented by lawyers.
Only the President of the Chamber of Deputies and the IGP were represented by Ajulo and Kehinde Oluwole.