Godwin Tsa Abuja
The people of the South East region have sued President Muhammadu Buhari and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) before the Federal High Court over the exclusion of the region in the $22.7 billion loan sought from EXIM Bank of China, World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Japan International Corporation Agency, German Development Bank and French Development Agency.
The Igbo are contending that the exclusion amounts to a breach of their rights as enshrined in section 42(1)(2) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended) and Articles 2, 13,19, 22 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 25(c)and 26 of the International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 2,7,21(2) and 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1948.
They also alleged that indigenes of the South East were being discriminated against by virtue of the conducts of President Buhari who they alleged discriminated against them on the basis of their ethnicity, political opinion, and place of origin, in the distribution of projects accruing from the loan of $22.7 billion.
A fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Aku Maduwuba on behalf of the applicant, Okoro Nkemakolam, specifically sought for an order of court declaring the decisions and actions of President Buhari to the exclusion of the applicant and the entire indigenes of the Igbo ethnic group comprising Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo as illegal, null and void.
The applicant noted that while indigenes and diverse ethnic groups of South West, South South, North West, North East and North Central were all captured in the loan, the South East was completely left out.
The applicant alleged that $200 million was allocated to the South West; $4,270,000,000 to South-South; $6,372,000,000 to North West; $300,000,000 to North East and $6,531,000,000 to North Central from the $22.7 billion loan for developmental projects to be sited in the zones for their benefits.
He also sought “an order of court directing the 1st Respondent (Buhari) to include the interest of the applicant and other indigenes of the Igbo ethnic group of the South East comprising of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, states in the share, allocation and distribution of projects, with respect to the $22.7billion loan sought by the president and approved by the National Assembly in accordance with the provisions of section 42(1&2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 2, 13,19, 22 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
“An order of injunction restraining the respondents from further proceeding with, or continuing with the disbursement of the sum of $22.7 billion loan, sought by the president from allocating or executing any projects to the benefit of indigenes and the various ethnic groups in the South West, South South, North West, North East and North Central without the inclusion of the interest of the applicant, and all other indigenes of the Southeast of Igbo ethnic group of Nigeria, comprising of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, States.”
The suit, which is supported by a 50-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Uche Joy Ihuoma, a law office secretary in the chambers of Nkem Okoro has been assigned to Justice Taiwo Taiwo for adjudication.