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Court Rules Charges Against Doguwa Unconstitutional



Court Rules Charges Against Doguwa Unconstitutional

Culpable homicide accusations and a criminal conspiracy prosecution against Alhassan Ado Doguwa, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, have been ruled illegal by a Federal High Court in Kano.


On Monday, Justice Mohammad Yunusa, the court’s presiding judge, further declared that he had the authority to hear the exparte application for bail from the troubled majority leader of the House of Representatives for N500 million and grant it.

In ruling on Doguwa’s move on notice challenging his fundamental rights and the lower court’s wrongful detention, Justice Yunusa determined that the Chief Magistrate Court lacked the authority to hear any case involving a criminal conspiracy.

Justice Yunusa further referred to section 251 (1), which expressly gave the Federal court competence to consider a case involving guns as it was alleged in Doguwa’s charges.

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Doguwa was granted bail, but the judge made it clear that this was not to shield him from going to trial. Justice Yunusa underlined that the law must be obeyed.

Doguwa, represented by Senior Advocate of Nigeria Nureini Jimoh, sought the enforcement of his client’s fundamental rights as protected by the constitution and other legal charters in an affidavit that was presented to the court.


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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