A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted permission to a civil rights organisation, Incorporated Trustees of Centre for Reform and Public Advocacy, to apply for order of mandamus which will compel the Inspector General of Police to prosecute the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for alleged perjury.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, on Thursday, granted the Centre the leave in his ruling in an ex-parte application argued by its counsel, Ugo Nwofor.
The group filed the ex-parte application following the alleged refusal of IGP Usman Alkali Baba to order the arrest and prosecution of Tinubu for supplying false information on oath in respect of his educational qualifications.
In moving the application, Nwofor told Justice Ekwo that it was predicated on the rule of the Federal High Court to first obtain permission of the Court before proceeding with a suit seeking order to compel the IGP to carry out his constitutional duties.
In his brief ruling, Justice Ekwo held that the ex-parte application was meritorious and subsequently granted it.
Hearing of the substantive suit was then fixed for November 1.
The main suit dated and filed on July 4 by the group listed the Nigeria Police Force and the Inspector General of Police as 1st and 2nd respondents, respectfully.
The group explained that the suit against the IGP was necessitated by the police boss’ refusal to act on its petition against Tinubu over an offence the APC presidential candidate was allegedly indicted for by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1999.
The applicant maintained that by Sections 214 and 215, of the Constitution and Section 4 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Police have the statutory responsibility to “prevent, detect and investigate criminal allegations whether brought to their notice by individuals, person or persons, corporate bodies, institutions etc”.
Consequently, the applicant in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1058/2022, is asking the court for, “An order of mandamus compelling the respondents to comply with Sections 31 and 32 of the Police Act and Section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in respect of alleged crime laid out in complaint of the applicant encapsulated in the letter of June 16, 2022 received by the respondents on the same date and titled: Demand for Criminal Prosecution of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu under Sections 191,192 and 463 of the Criminal Code Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 Consequent upon the Findings of the Lagos State House of Assembly Ad-hoc Committee, 1999”.
The applicant claimed that by Section 31 of the Nigeria Police Act, the respondents are duty bound to investigate alleged crime brought to them and report their findings to the Attorney General of the Federation or of a state, as the case may be, for legal advice.
The applicant added that by Section 32 (1) of the Police Act, “A suspect or defendant alleged or charged with committing offence established by an Act of the National Assembly or under any other laws shall be arrested, investigated and tried or dealt with according to the provisions of this Act, except otherwise provided under this Act”.
Applicant claimed it has the legal competence to invoke the jurisdiction of the court to compel the respondents to discharge their legal, Constitutional and public duties in line with the law.
The group expressed regret that its two letters dated June 16 and 27 to the respondents wherein it demanded the prosecution of Tinubu over alleged perjury have until now been ignored, adding that respondents also “have not notified the applicant of any action taken on the said letter”.
The applicant added that following a letter by late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, in 1999, the Lagos State House of Assembly had set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the alleged act of perjury wherein the Committee had in its report on page 13 stated that, “However, on the question of providing false information on oath (sections 191 and 197) we are satisfied that the statement of the governor’s educational qualification which he has admitted were incorrect were not intended…”
The applicant in its petition to the IGP claimed that Tinubu lied on oath in his form CF 001 he submitted to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship election in Lagos State in 1999.
The applicant further claimed that Tinubu “forged all the educational certificates he listed in his INEC Form CF 001 which he admitted he did not possess in annexure C.
”For purpose of clarity, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the said INEC Form deposed on oath that he attended Government College, Ibadan and University of Chicago, USA when in actual fact he did not.
“On the strength of the above, we respectfully demand that you initiate the criminal proceedings of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu consequent upon the express findings of the Lagos State House of Assembly as captured above.”