by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna, on Tuesday resumed hearing on a N950m rights violation suit against Kaduna state governor, El-Rufai, and four others.
During the resumed hearing, which was presided over by Justice Peter Malong, Barrister Gloria Ballason, who is lead counsel to Plaintiff, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu (former chairman of National Human Rights Commission, NHRC), accused Governor Nasir El-Rufai and four other respondents of tendering forged documents to the court in the case.
The former NHRC boss had approached the court seeking for the enforcement of his fundamental rights and claiming N950 million as damages caused by the order of the governor, El-Rufai, and other respondents.
Other respondents in the case are Kaduna State Director of Prosecution, DPP, Kaduna State Attorney-General, Kaduna State Police Commissioner and Inspector-General of Police, tagged as Respondents 1 to 5, respectively.
Ballason said during the court session on Tuesday, “My Lord, I want to call to your attention the unacceptable doctoring of a document tendered by the 1st to 4th Respondents.
“They have suddenly appended a Case Number to the trial, which my client was subjected to at the Chief Magistrate’s Court Kaduna and tendered before this court as part of their defence.
“This is very improper. I want to point it out that one of the major reasons why my client has consistently insisted that he was undergoing a secret trial was that there is no any case number to the trial.
“I have submitted that, the Director of Public Prosecution filed a Criminal Complaint against my client without a case number; the Motion Exparte has no case number; likewise the Court Order by the Magistrate has no Case number.”
However, El-Rufai and the other respondents, on the other hand, told the court through their lead Counsel, A.I. Thomas, that all their documents were genuine and that they would proof it in court.
The plaintiff’s counsel couldn’t further with her submission, as Justice Malong adjourned the case till 23 July, 2020. She however told journalists shortly after court proceedings that, “We shall prove that every document we tendered is genuine.”
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that Prof. Odinkalu had aired his doubt on a television programme over claims by Governor El-Rufai in February 2019, where he (el-Rufai) alleged that 66 Fulanis and, later, 130 Fulanis were killed by native Adara, and said that the allegation was inciting and unbecoming of a governor. He also challenged el-Rufai to show proof.
But, the governor, through the Kaduna State DPP ordered the arrest and prosecution of Odinkalu in trial that his lawyer, Ballason, said was a secret trial and did not follow due judicial process, while pointing out that it was an abuse on his (Odinkalu’s) fundamental human rights.