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Monday, May 29, 2023

Murder, Criminal Charges Against Doguwa Declared ‘Unconstitutional’

The charges of culpable homicide and criminal conspiracy pressed against the House of Representatives Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa have been declared unconstitutional.

A Federal High Court in Kano presided over by Justice Mohammad Yunusa, on Monday, declared jurisdiction to hear and grant the N500 million bail on exparte application on the politician.  

A chief magistrate court had granted Doguwa bail but earlier Kano Police Command opposed the bail application and vowed to challenge the ruling, according to Daily Post.

Doguwa had filed a lawsuit against his fundamental rights and unlawful detention by the lower court. In his ruling, Justice Yunusa held that the magistrate court lacked the jurisdiction to preside over any charge bordering on criminal conspiracy.

Justice Yunusa equally cited section 251 (1) which exclusively granted the Federal court jurisdiction to hear a case on firearms as contained in the charges filed against Doguwa.

Although the judge emphasized that granting Doguwa bail was not meant to prevent him from trial, Justice Yunusa insisted that due process must be followed.

In an affidavit submitted before the court, Doguwa through his attorney, Nureini Jimoh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, sought the enforcement of the fundamental rights of his client as guaranteed by the constitution and other lawful charters.

The Senior lawyer claimed that Doguwa was detained by the police unlawfully and against his right to liberty and freedom as allowed under several provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended. As contained in the affidavits, the applicant’s lawyer had insisted the incarceration of his client by the Chief Magistrate was null and void and unconstitutional because a lower court lacks the competence to trial criminal charges.

Dissatisfied with the order of the court setting Doguwa free, the prosecution counsel AB Saleh had queried the jurisdiction of the Federal high court to exercise the orders, insisting the action of Justice Yunusa amounted to gross abuse of court process.

The prosecution, in his 26 paragraphs counter-affidavits, maintained that police possess a statutory duty to investigate any related case on a criminal conspiracy for any period of time adding that such action does not constitute any infringement of the fundamental right of the citizen.

In his Judgement, Justice Yunusa declared that citizens reserved the right under the provisions of section 46 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended to approach any high court to challenge an attempt or breach of his or her fundamental right.

Although Justice Yunusa admitted the provisions of the law which specifically mentioned the state high court within which offences on fundamental rights can be challenged, he revealed that both the state and federal high courts share concurrent jurisdiction to hear matters on fundamental rights.

Justice Yunusa explained that Doguwa ought not to be remanded in the correctional facility in the first place because he was not arraigned and properly charged, adding that the police argument on holding charge before the lower court was not recognized by the constitution of the land.

The court, therefore, granted the application restraining the police from arresting, harassing, detaining or taking further action against Doguwa.


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