The Federal Government of Nigeria has been dragged to court by a constitutional lawyer, and former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Olisa Agbakoba for alleged negligence of the Igbo-occupied South Eastern part of the country.
Agbakoba is also demanding N1trillion in the fundamental human rights suit filed before a Federal High Court for himself and on behalf of the South East Zone over alleged acts of discrimination and underdevelopment of the region.
In the suit brought in pursuant to section 42 of the 1999 constitution, the lawyer is further asking the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Federal Government and its agents, servants or privies, or otherwise howsoever from further acts of discrimination against the applicant or any member of the Group/Class represented in the civil action.
Besides, the applicants are also claiming a whopping sum of N1trillion from the Federal Government as general damages to be shared among the five states of the South-East geo-political zone.
The suit is praying the court to “declare that the structural composition of the states in Nigeria, in this distribution: North-West, Seven States; North-Central, Six States; North-East, Six States; South-West, Six States; South-South, Six States; and South-East, Five States; creates a structural imbalance against the applicant and the Group/Class he represents to their political and economic disadvantage in federal legislative representation, ministerial/political and judicial appointments, and revenue allocation contrary to Section 14(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, which requires reflection of federal character in conduct of public affairs, and accordingly a violation of Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, which prohibits discrimination against the applicant and the Group/Class represented based on Ethnic Grouping and place of origin.”
In an originating summons supported by an affidavit of 99 paragraphs and a statement of claim, the applicants rooted their action on the ground of alleged total neglect of the applicant’s geo-political zone by the Federal Government in terms of infrastructure and general federal presence making the region feel not part of the Federal Government (1st Respondent).
It is equally demanding the creation of two more states in the South-East geopolitical zone to balance with the seven states in the North-West.
The suit is also asking the Federal High Court for an order directing the Federal Government to forthwith, “prepare and send to the National Assembly for enactment, a bill to establish the South-East Development Commission (SEDC) and for ancillary matters, which body shall be charged with the execution of the said master plan and the general development of the South-East geo-political zone.”
Other grounds upon which the action was filed is the alleged abandonment of the Niger Bridge to collapse and failure to build the ‘Second Niger Bridge’ making the applicants feel isolated from other parts of 1st Respondent and causing them apprehension about disaster on crossing the existing bridge.
They cited the abandonment of federal roads, which are death traps and robbery baits and occasioning and constraining on the applicants’ grueling road journeys within the geo-political zone as another reason for the suit.
It is their contention that the failure to develop strategic new roads especially the Anam-Nzam federal road linking the South-East with the North-Central at Idah in Kogi State to give the applicants easy access to the northern part of Nigeria is discriminatory.
The grounds of the suit also include failure to exploit the Oil/Gas Reserves in Anambra Basin and stalling the applicants’ legitimate expectation from employment and derivation funds for development of the Applicant’s South-East Zone.
The applicants further cited the abandonment of the Enugu Colliery and depriving them legitimate expectation from them.