Blasphemy: Court dismisses Kano cleric’s human rights suit
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the detained Islamic cleric, Abdul-Jabbar Kabara, against the Kano government and another over alleged blasphemy.
Justice Emeka Nwite dismissed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1201/2022 because it was an abuse of court process, having filed a similar lawsuit before the Kano Division of the Federal High Court.
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 the Kano court was an abuse of court process and condemnable.
Mr Kabara, through his counsel, Mr Dalhatu, sued the Upper Sharia Court Kofa Kudu and the Kano government as the first and second respondents, respectively.
In the originating motion dated and filed July 25, the cleric sought an order enforcing his fundamental human rights by moving to the court for it to be quashed, the charge and the entire proceedings of the Sharia Court against him via a case number CR/01/2021 conducted against his constitutional rights to a fair hearing.
He also prayed for an order quashing the charge 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.
On four grounds given by the respondents, they argued that the present suit was an abuse of court process since there is an existing and similar action pending at the Kano court, 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 to revolve around a Sharia Penal Code criminal charge and prosecution under a Sharia Court in Kano state,” they argued. “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 merit.”
When the matter came up on August 2, Abdussalam Saleh, who held the brief for Kano’s attorney general, urged the judge to discountenance all the arguments of the lawyer to Mr Kabara and dismiss the application with a substantial cost.
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