Hearing on the suit between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Nigerian Women, represented by six civil society organisations, have been adjourned to February 5, 2021.
Justice Okon. E. Abang of the Federal High Court opened hearing on the case on Wednesday.
The co – plaintiffs are: Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA), Nigeria Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Centre For Democracy and Development (CDD- WEST AFRICA), Women Advocates Research And Documentation Centre (WARDC), Vision Spring Initiatives (VSI) and Women In Politics Forum (WIPF)
In the suit, led by the Falana and Falana’s Chamber, the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs are as follows:
1. A DECLARATION that the failure of the 1st defendant to implement the 35percent affirmative action policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria is illegal,unlawful,null and an arbitrary violation of the National Gender Policy, 2006,
2. A DECLARATION that the failure of the 1st defendant to implement the 35percent affirmative action policy of the federal Government of Nigeria is illegal,unlawful and a violation of sections 42, 147 (3) and 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 19 of the Adrian Charter of Human and People’s Rights.
3.A Declaration that the overwhelmingly predominant appointment of the male gender into decision making positions of the Federation is wrong, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void as it violates Sections 42,147(3) and 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 19 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights and does not violate the right of yeh female gender of equal access to public office.
4. AN INJUNCTION restraining the 1st Defendant from further exercising the Constitutional and Statutory power of appointment in a manner violative of the 35percent affirmative action policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria as contained in the National Gender Policy, 2006.
5. AN ORDER MANDATING the respondents to henceforth comply with the principle of equality of the sexes in all appointments in compliance with Sections 42,147 (3) and 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 19 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights.
6. AND ANY OTHER ORDER (S) this Honourable Court may make in the circumstance of the case.
Marshal Abubakar held the brief of the lead counsel, Femi Falana, SAN. In the course of proceedings, the court noted that the case is one of utmost national importance.
The judge also noted that hearing notice has been issued twice to the Defendants. The plaintiff’s counsel however informed the judge that despite the absence of the Defendants, the suit is not a fight or confrontation with the Defendants but that the plaintiffs are seeking for compliance with germane constitutional and statutory provisions the Defendants are bound to comply with.
He informed the court that despite their absence and proof of service of hearing notices, he would not be proceeding but urged the court to order issuance of hearing notice to avail the Defendants representation and on the merit.
The matter has been adjourned till 5 February 2021