A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the detained Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abdul-jabbar Kabara, against the Kano State government and another over alleged blasphemy.
Justice Emeka Nwite, in a judgment, dismissed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1201/2022 on the grounds that it was an abuse of court process, having filed similar matter before a FHC sitting in Kano.
Mr Nwite held that the attempt by counsel to the cleric, Shehu Dalhatu, to ingeniously make the instant suit look different from the one before Kano court was clearly an abuse of court process and condemnable.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kabara, through his counsel, sued the Upper Sharia Court Kofa Kudu, Kano, and Kano State government as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
In the originating motion dated and filed July 25, the cleric sought an order enforcing his fundamental human right by moving to the court for the purpose of it being quashed the charge and the entire proceedings of the Sharia Court against him, via a case number CR/01/2021, being conducted against his constitutional rights to fair hearing.
He also prayed for an order quashing the charge being conducted against his constitutional right to personal liberty.
But in a preliminary objection dated July 29 and filed August 1, the respondents prayed the court to dismiss the suit for being incompetent.
In a four grounds given by the respondents, they argued that the present suit is an abuse of court process since there is an existing and similar action pending at the FHC, Kano in suit number FHC/KN/CS/185/2022 between the same parties.
They further argued that the Abuja court lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit as necessary parties had not been joined to maintain and determine the action.
“This honourable court lacks the power and competence to determine this suit as the subject matter and reliefs sought revolve around a Sharia Penal Code criminal charge and prosecution under a Sharia Court in Kano State.
“That the applicant (Kabara) did not present a complete record of proceedings of the 1st respondent (Sharia Court) to enable this honourable court properly determine this action on the merit,” they argued.
When the matter came up on August 2, Abdussalam Saleh, who held the brief for the Attorney-General of Kano State, urged Justice Nwite to discountenance all the arguments of Mr Kabara’s lawyer, and dismiss the application with a substantial cost.