By TAIYE AGBAJE
ABUJA- Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has approached a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja to seek an order relisting his suit filed against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Inyang Ekwo had, on Jan. 25, struck out two separate suits filed by Saraki against the anti-graft agency and others for lack of diligent prosecution.
The ex-Senate president had filed the suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/507/2019 and FHC/ABJ/CS/508/2019 at the FHC on May 10, 2019.
In the suits, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Inspector-General of Police and State Security Service (SSS) are 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
Others are EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) as 4th to 6th respondents respectively.
The ex-senate president had filed the suits following the EFCC’s decision in 2019 to probe Saraki’s earnings between 2003 and 2011 when he was governor of Kwara.
The anti-graft commission was reported to have seized some of his houses in the Ikoyi area of Lagos then and Saraki filed the suits to enforce his fundamental rights.
But the suits were struck out by the judge.
NAN reports that when a suit is struck out by a judge, it can be refiled but when a suit is dismissed, the decision of the lower court can only be appealed against at higher court.
However, in a motion on notice dated Feb. 1 and filed Feb. 3 pursuant to Order 19, Rule 1 and 3, Order 26, Rule 3 of FHC Civil Procedure Rules, 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court by his lawyer, Sunday Onubi, from Afe Babalola & Co Law Firm, Saraki sought for two orders.
He prayed for an order extending the time within which he could apply to relist the suit to the court’s cause list.
He also sought an order “relisting suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/508/2019 between Senator Olubukola Abubakar Saraki v. Attorney-General of the Federation & 5 Ors. to the court’s cause list.”
He gave 17-ground why his application should be granted.
Saraki said though his lawyer was not in court on Jan. 25 when the matter came up, leading to its striking out, it was due to an oversight on the part of the secretary in the law firm.
He said eversince the case was reassigned to Justice Ekwo, his counsel, Onubi, had been diligent in the prosecution.
Sakari said on June 27, 2022 and Oct. 5, 2022, the matter was adjourned off record because the court did not sit on the two occasions.
He said on Feb. 1, Onubi, however, read on the internet that the suit came up on Jan. 25 and was struck out because no lawyer represented him in court.
“Upon interrogating the matter, it was discovered that while preparing the office weekly cause list, the office secretary inadvertently omitted the case from the cause list.
“The absence of the applicant’s counsel on 25th January, 2023 and the delay in presenting this application is not out of disrespect to this honourable court,” he said.
The ex-lawmaker urged the court to grant his prayers in the interest of justice as the respondents would not be prejudiced by the grant of the motion.
He said he was desirous of prosecuting the suit diligently to its logical conclusion.
The judge fixed March 31 for mention.(NAN)