Malcolm Omirhobo who is a human rights lawyer has sued the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba at a Federal High Court in Abuja over their refusal to grant him licence to possess assault rifles for self-defense.
He predicated his request for assault rifles possession on the claim that the Federal Government has failed to uphold its constitutional obligation to protect life.
The lawyer was requesting the court for interpretation of relevant Sections of the Firearms Act, Criminal Code Act and other relevant laws as to whether it is lawful, legal and constitutional for the 2nd defendant (President) to refuse, fail or neglect to grant him licence to possess an assault rifle for protection of his life and that of his family.
The plaintiff, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1078/2021, obtained by journalists on Thursday, was particularly seeking, ‘A declaration that he and other Nigerian citizens are entitled to defend themselves against unlawful violence of being killed, raped, sodomised, extorted, kidnapped, abducted, brutalised, dehumanised, debased, deprived of their rights to private and family life, freedom of movement, right of residency, peaceful assembly and association and protection of their property from the attacks of heavily armed criminals with AK 47 Assault rifles, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG) and other sophisticated weapons, by means of licensed firearms.
‘A declaration that the refusal, failure and/or neglect of the defendants to abate the killings, raping, sodomising, extorting, kidnapping, abduction, brutalisation, dehumanisation, debasement, destruction of property, the restriction of the freedom of movement and right of residence, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, family and private life and the seizing of property of defenceless Nigerian citizens by heavily armed criminals with unlicensed AK 47 Assault rifles, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG) and other sophisticated weapons is a breach of the social contract between the defendants and Nigerian citizens.’
The lawyer is specifically seeking a declaration that “it is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional for the 2nd defendant (President ) to refuse, fail and/or neglect to grant the plaintiff licence to possess and own an A6 147 Premium AK 47 Assault Rifle based on the Plaintiff’s application of 8/7/2021 which the 2nd Defendant received on 9/7/2021 to enable the Plaintiff exercise his constitutional right to self-defence for protection life and property.”
He also seeks court’s declaration that it is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional for the 6th to 16th defendants (36 states of their Attorney-Generals) not to apply for firearms licence from the 2nd and 4th Defendants and the Commissioner of Police of their various states for the protection of the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens within their domain.
Omirhobo filed the suit on behalf of himself and the Nigerian public.
Other defendants in the suit are the Minister of Defence, Attorney General of Federation, (AGF), 36 states and their Attorneys-General.
Africa Daily News, New York gathered that Thursday’s proceedings, only Lagos, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom and Edo were represented in court while others sought adjournment in the hearing of the suit.
Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed had, however, fixed January 24, 2023 for hearing.
The Judge also ordered that the processes including hearing notice be served on the respondents that have not been served.