Court strikes out suit seeking to reverse appointment of Hannatu Musawa as minister

A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a suit seeking to reverse the appointment of Hannatu Musawa as Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy by President Bola Tinubu.

Justice James Omotosho, in a judgment, held that the plaintiffs lacked legal right to file the suit.

Justice Omotosho also held that even where the plaintiffs were vested with legal right to file the matter, the suit itself lacked merit.

DAILY POST reports that Tinubu had, on July 27, 2023, transmitted Musawa’s name, alongside other ministerial-nominees, to the Senate for confirmation.

Musawa, a lawyer and immediate-past Presidential Adviser on Culture and Entertainment Economy, was screened by the Senate on August 1, 2023, and was sworn in as minister on August 21, 2023.

DAILY POST recalls that as at the time the minister, who hails from Katsina State, was appointed, she was said to be a serving National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, member.

Against this backdrop, the Incorporated Trustees of Concerned Nigeria, Chief Dr Patrick Eholor and Thomas Marcus, who were 1st to 3rd plaintiffs respectively, filed the suit before Justice Omotosho.

In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1198/23 filed Aug. 30, 2023, the plaintiffs sued the President, the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Musawa as 1st to 3rd defendants, respectively.

They prayed the court to determine whether by provisions of Section 2(1) and (3) of the NYSC Act and Section 4(9) of the NYSC Bye-Laws (Revised 2011), Musawa, who was a corps member as at the time, was not prohibited from becoming a federal minister.

Upon favourable resolution of the questions, the plaintiffs sought an order nullifying the initial recommendation, resolution to be a minister, appointment and swearing in of Musawa as a minister.

They equally sought an order of mandatory injunction setting aside all official actions as may be carried out by her acting in any official capacity from the commencement of and swearing in of the minister to the final conclusion of the suit.

On her part, Musawa, through her lawyer, argued that the 1st plaintiff was a non-existent entity and thus, not a juristic person to institute the action.

Also, she argued that none of the plaintiffs had shown how they had suffered special injury to the exclusion of all Nigerians to qualify them to maintain the suit.

In the judgment delivered on Tuesday by Justice Omotosho, the judge agreed that for a person to be qualified for appointment as a minister, he must fulfill the conditions in Section 147 (5) of the 1999 Constitution.

According to him, Section 147 (5) says no person shall be appointed as a minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives.

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