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Lawyers file suit to Stop ‘#ObiDatti23 Forward Ever Rally’

Nine lawyers and one other plaintiff have asked the Federal High Court Lagos to stop the Labour Party (LP), its candidates, and supporters from conducting a rally tagged “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” on October 1 or any other date, in Lagos State.

They specifically asked the court to restrain the LP, its presidential candidate Peter Obi, his vice; Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, one Julius Abure, and their loyalists from holding the rally, until the hearing and determination of their motion-on-notice of September 12.

The 10 plaintiffs are Adedotun Ajulo Esq., Salamatu Suleiman Lewi Esq., Hakeem Ijaduola, Esq., Ogunbona Akinpelu Esq., Owolabi K. Oluwasegun, Esq., Mogbojuri Kayode Esq., Wuyep Mantim Nadom Esq., Dimimu Mabel, Esq., Kolawole Salami, Esq. and Wale Abe Lawrence(the only non-lawyer).

They filed the suit against the 1st to 10th defendants; Obi, LP, Baba-Ahmed, Abure, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Commissioner of Police (Lagos State Command), Director-General (Department of State Services), Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Limited, Attorney-General of Lagos State and the Governor of Lagos State.

In an ex parte motion filed before Justice Daniel Osiagor through their counsel Mr. Dada Awosika, SAN, leading Temilolu Ademolekun and others, the plaintiffs argued that a repeat or celebration of the “infamous” #EndSARS protest of 2020 under the political guise of “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” will cause a breakdown of peace and will result in a post-traumatic stress disorder for them and the public.

They asked the court for four reliefs – “An order of interim injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants; their associates and loyalists from conducting the scheduled #EndSARS rally tagged as the “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally on the 1st of October, 2020 or any other subsequent date, at the Lekki Toll Gate until the hearing and determination of the Motion-On-Notice dated the 12 Day of September, 2022;

“An order of interim injunction restraining the 1st 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants and their loyalists from further planning and promoting the Scheduled #EndSARS rally tagged as the “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally.

“An order of interim injunction restraining the 5th 6th, 7th Defendants from allowing or granting permissions to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Defendants, their agents, and the organizers of “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” at the behest of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Defendants from carrying out the said anniversary on the 1st of October, 2022 and any other subsequent date.

“An order of interim injunction restraining the 8th Defendant (LCC) from granting permission to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Defendants; their agents, privies, allies, and loyalists, to make use of the Lekki Toll Gate or any space under and within the control of the 8th Defendant for carrying out the said anniversary on the 1st of October, 2022 and any other subsequent date.

Justice Osiagor directed the plaintiffs to put all the defendants on notice. The judge made the order following Awosika’s application.

He then adjourned the hearing of the substantive motion till September 23.

The plaintiffs, by their originating summons filed on the 9th of September, 2022 listed 12 grounds upon which the judge should grant their reliefs.

They include, “That the actions of the supporters, agents, privies and loyalists of the 1, 2nd, 3rd and 4 defendants to conduct the scheduled rally tagged “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” to hold on the 1 of October 2022 is contrary to Section 45(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the actions of the 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 Defendants by allowing the 1-4 Defendants amounts to an overreach in executive powers and a breach of statutory duties bestowed on them.

“That the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants, their agents, privies, allies, and loyalists have gone beyond the reach of their fundamental right to assembly as the scheduled rally tagged as “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” is in contravention with the purports of Section 45(1) of the Constitution.

“That the 5, 6, and 7th defendants are security agencies enacted by relevant statutes and have the sole duty and responsibility to maintain public safety, law, and order in the society at large.

“That the 5th 6th and 7th defendants have failed to do their duties as required of them by the law by granting permission to the 1, 2, 3, and 4th Defendants; their agents, privies, allies, and loyalists to conduct the scheduled rally tagged as “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” on the 1st of October, 2022 at the Lekki Toll Gate.

“That the 8th defendant is in gross breach of the purports of Section 38(2) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 to not donate its property to any political party or political association or for any political cause to which the 8 Defendant has failed forthwith.

“That the 9th and 10th defendants, being constitutionally enacted offices, have statutorily bestowed duties and obligations to the general public to preserve and maintain law, public order, and safety and also ensure compliance with the law to which they have failed forthwith.

“That the scheduled rally tagged as “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” is to hold on the 1st of October, 2022, and failure to restrain the defendants from the conduction of the said rally would amount to another display of great destruction to lives and properties as it ensued during the #EndSARS protest of 2020.

“That a repeat or celebration of the said infamous #EndSARS protest of 2020 in this year 2022 under the political guise of “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” will result in a total breakdown of peace and will result in a post-traumatic stress disorder for me and the other plaintiffs, as well as some affected member of the public as same has generated major controversy on the social media with loyalist and members of other political camps, are equally threatening a rival rally at the same date and venue for convergence.

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