Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a court order directing the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to provide maximum protection for Hon. Leke Abejide, the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC). This directive is aimed at preventing his arrest or detention by Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
The court has also barred the DSS, Police, and Governor Bello from inviting, arresting, detaining, or threatening the life and property of the governorship candidate pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Abejide. These orders were granted by Justice Mohammed in an ex-parte application presented by Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Sammie Somiari on behalf of Abejide.
The court’s orders further extend to the protection of Abejide’s properties in Abuja, Kogi State, and across the country. The gubernatorial candidate had sought the enforcement of his fundamental rights, including the right to life, dignity of person, personal liberty, fair hearing, peaceful assembly, association, freedom of movement, and freedom from discrimination, as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and relevant human rights laws.
Abejide claimed that Governor Yahaya Bello had become increasingly concerned and had allegedly threatened to have him arrested and incapacitated since he emerged as the governorship candidate, with the ultimate goal of preventing him from participating in the November 11, 2023, gubernatorial election in Kogi State.
Justice Mohammed, after hearing arguments and examining the evidence, issued restraining orders against the respondents, ensuring that Abejide would not be arrested, detained, or harassed while his substantive case is being resolved. The court also compelled the relevant security agencies to provide maximum security for Abejide in various locations.
The respondents in the case include Governor Yahaya Bello, the Nigeria Police Force, Commissioner of Police (Kogi State), DSS, and the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The substantive suit filed by Abejide’s legal team seeks declarations of rights violations and requests Governor Bello to pay N2 billion in damages for the alleged violation of the gubernatorial candidate’s fundamental human rights, along with a public apology.
The court has scheduled September 20 for the hearing of the substantive suit. It is worth noting that a similar court order was issued on July 13, directing security agencies to provide maximum protection for another gubernatorial candidate in Kogi State, Murtala Ajaka, following similar threats to his life.
Abejide’s case highlights the importance of protecting the rights and safety of political candidates during electoral processes.