21 April 2021 By Victoria Abah
The Federal High Court, Abuja has rejected a suit seeking to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to direct security agencies to enforce the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Law of 2017.
Delivering judgment in a virtual court proceeding, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, and consequentially struck out the suit.
The jury held that failure of the president to discharge his official responsibilities in accordance with his oath of office was not justiciable and that the court could not hold the president accountable for not abiding by his oath of office.
Justice Ojukwu said that it was the responsibility of the people of Benue and law enforcement agencies and the task force to employ all legitimate means to implement the anti-open grazing law.
Justice Ojukwu equally held that by the provisions of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, the plaintiff was wrong to have sued the president in his personal capacity on an issue related to the performance of his official responsibilities.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu added that the defendant in the alternative, should have been the Attorney-General of the Federation, while Buhari, should have been a nominal party.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Terhemba Agbe appreciated the judge for the judgment which he described as very educative.
The suit was instituted by Mr Mathew Nyiutsa against the President on the grounds that the President, by his oath of office, incurred a mandatory obligation to uphold and preserve the laws of the land.
He however, said that the president failed to abide by his oath of office when he refused to implement the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Law.
The plaintiff maintained that despite existence of the law, herders had remained unrelenting in practising open grazing in Benue state.
He added that the President had failed to enforce the law, in line with his oath of office by using the security and enforcement apparatus within his powers.