Legal Nigeria

Court dismisses suit seeking investigation, prosecution of Peter Obi

A suit seeking to compel the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to investigate and prosecute Mr Peter Obi the Labour Party, LP candidate in the 2023 presidential election over allegations bordering on asset declaration breach was struck out on Tuesday at Federal High Court, Abuja, for lack of diligent prosecution.

The suit was filed by activist and lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje.

Ogungbeje had in the suit alleged that Peter Obi failed to declare his offshore holdings and their associated assets. He also alleged that the Labour Party Presidential candidate operated a foreign account while being a public officer and continued being a director of Next International (UK) Limited for 14 months after becoming the governor of Anambra State.

He said the actions of Peter Obi were contrary to provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

In the motion on notice dated July 3 but filed on Nov. 6 by the applicant himself, he sought an order of mandamus compelling the CCB to, forthwith, exercise its constitutional and statutory duty, function and obligation to invite, investigate complaints; refer and prosecute Mr Peter Obi before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on the allegations and complaints of breaches of the constitutional provisions on assets declaration.

He also sought a declaration that the failure and or refusal of CCB to act based on his application dated March 23 amounted to “crass dereliction of public duty, gross abdication of statutory responsibility and brazen infraction of constitutional obligations and functions imposed on the respondent by law.”

Justice Inyang Ekwo Ekwo had, on Nov 1, granted Ogungbeje’s motion ex-parte moved by Odafe Ojisua, for leave to apply for an order of mandamus compelling the CCB to invite, investigate and prosecute Obi before the CCT.

The judge, who directed Ogungbeje to file his application within 7 days, ordered him to serve CCB at least 14 days before the next adjourned date

But when the matter was called on Tuesday, neither the applicant nor his lawyer was in court, and Justice Ekwo consequently struck out the suit.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a short ruling thereafter, threw out the suit for lack of diligent prosecution.