Odinkalu sues El-Rufai, demands N950m damages

FORMER Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu has filed a suit demanding N950 million damages from the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai and four others.

The suit listed the Kaduna State Attorney-General, Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution, State Commissioner of Police and the Inspector-General of the Police as defendants in the case.

A Federal High Court in Abuja is set to commence hearing on Thursday before the sitting judge of the case, F.O Giwa-Ogunbanjo.

In a suit filed by Odinkalu’s counsel, Mabiem Gloria Ballason, the plaintiff alleged violations of the provision of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and multiple violations of his fundamental human right.

He alleged that the state’s action is a violation of his fundamental human rights including free speech, due process, fair hearing and human dignity as provided by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Odinkalu alleged that El-Rufai lied when he said 66 people were killed in Maro, Kajuru local government of the state.

During a live programme on Channels Television on 16 February, 2019, he said the causalities in the incident were not more than 11 but El-Rufai was playing politics with lives when he reported through his media aide that about 66 people were killed at the incident.

“That story, if you noticed, that story was broken by the Kaduna State governor with his publicist, Muyiwa Adekeye standing by his shoulder. No police officer, no SSS officer, no security person in the vicinity and he was throwing out words that were calculated to be very incendiary on the eve of very difficult elections about a location that is very difficult and has had historical problems of violence across communities,” Odinkalu said.

“And he was dropping this bromide like he was on some substance, with all due respect. I spent all of last night from all the sources in Kajuru and nobody can verify or substantiate that there has been a killing of 66 people in Kajuru over the past few days.”

In reaction to Odinkalu’s statement, Kaduna State Government filed a suit dated March 18, 2019, accused the human rights lawyer of inciting disturbance and furnishing false information which is punishable under the state’s penal codes.

The government asked that criminal summons be issued against Odinkalu for “inciting disturbance, injurious falsehood, public nuisance, and furnishing false information punishable under section 77, 373, 104, and 150 respectively of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna state, 2017”.

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