The Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked to among others, compel President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Faruk Yahaya owing to his conviction for contempt by a High Court in Niger State.
The request forms a relief in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/2236/2022 filed on Friday by a lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi.
Listed as defendants in the suit are Yahaya, President Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami.
Justice Halima Abdulmalik of the High Court of Niger State on November 30 convicted Yahaya and the Commandant Training and Doctrine Command Minna, Major General Stevenson Olugbenga Olabanji, for willfully disobeying an earlier order made on October 12.
Justice Abdulmalik ordered that they be jailed until they purge themselves of the act of contempt.
In his suit, Jideobi is contending that Yahaya’s conviction remains extant and subsisting since it has neither been suspended, stayed, vacated nor upturned on appeal.
Jideobi argued that the nation’s Constitution prohibits convicts from holding public positions.
He further argued that President Buhari has no constitutional powers to appoint a convict, who is sentenced to a jail term, as the Chief of Army Staff.
The plaintiff added that the “suit is brought in the interest of the public, to protect the dignity of the Nigerian Constitution and the Nigerian Army as a foremost institution of discipline which must not be led at any time by a convict more so a contemnor who treats the sacred orders and decisions of a duly constituted court with perfidious disregard”
Other reliefs being sought by Jideobi include:
*An order of declaring vacant the seat of the Chief of Army Staff of Nigerian Army.
*An order directing the most immediate senior military officer in the Nigerian Army, after the Chief of Army Staff, to take over the management of the affairs of the Nigerian Army pending when the President and Commander –in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria appoints a new Chief of Army Staff.
*An order declaring void, a nullity and setting aside all actions, decisions and steps taken by General Faruk Yayaha as the Chief of Army Staff from the 30th day of November, 2022 until the judgment of the High Court of Niger State of Nigeria, convicting the first defendant and sentencing him to prison on the 30th day of November, 2022 is set aside or upturned by a court of competent jurisdiction.
*An order restraining General Faruk Yahaya, (the first defendant) forthwith, from exercising the powers and functions of the Chief of Army Staff and from drawing any benefit, salaries and perks of office as the Chief of Army Staff until the judgment of the High Court of Niger State of Nigeria, convicting and sentencing him to prison on the 30th day of November, 2022 is set aside or upturned.
*An order restraining the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from further appointing the first defendant (Yahaya) into the office of the Chief of Army Staff or any other position in the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
*A mandatory order, pursuant to Section 287(3) of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, compelling the honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (the 3rd defendant herein) to ensure immediate compliance with the judgment of the honourable court in this suit.”
The suit is yet to be assigned for hearing.
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