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ABACHA & ORS.
V.
FAWEHINMI

(2000) JELR 43966 (SC)    

Supreme Court  ·  SC.45/1997 ·  28 Apr 2000 ·  Nigeria
 · 
Other Citations
Abacha v. Fawehinmi (2000) 6 NWLR (Pt.660) 228 (2000) 4 S.C (Pt II) 1 (2000) A.N.L.R 351
Abacha v. Fawehinmi (2000) 6 NWLR (Pt. 660) 228
CORAM
SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE JSC MICHAEL EKUNDAYO OGUNDARE JSC UTHMAN MOHAMMED JSC ANTHONY IKECHUKWU IGUH JSC GODFREY OKAY ACHIKE JSC SAMSON ODEMWINGIE UWAIFO JSC AKINTOLA OLUFEMI EJIWUNMI JSC

Ratio Decidendi

Editorial Summary
The respondent, who was the applicant in the High Court, brought an action for the enforcement of his fundamental rights following his arrest and detention by officials of the State Security Service. The High Court dismissed the application on the ground that its jurisdiction was ousted by Decree No. 2 of 1984. Aggrieved, the respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal which held, in the main, that the jurisdiction of the Court was indeed ousted, but held that the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (enacted as Cap. 10 of the Laws of the Federation, 1990) was still in force as the military government could not contract out of the provisions of the treaty. In this appeal to the Supreme Court, the Court, by a majority four to three, dismissed the appeal while allowing the cross-appeal of the respondent. The Supreme Court, like the Court of Appeal, upheld the validity and continued application of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, but overruled the Court of Appeal on the point of ouster of jurisdiction. The Court also made far-reaching submissions on the status of the African Charter on Humans and People's Rights, including the mode of enforcement of rights contained therein. Finally, the apex court ordered a retrial of the case in the High Court.
Core Terms Beta
federal high court
laws of federation of nigeria
african charter
decree no.2
fundamental rights
mandatory order
court of appeal
operatives of the state security service
federal military government
jurisdiction of this honourable court
provisions of any decree
aforementioned decree no.2
learned trial judge
issue of the consequences of the detention
facts of this case
inspector-general of police
act cap
said reliefs
civil proceedings
constitution of the federal republic of nigeria
human rights
detention of persons
international treaty
continued detention of the applicant
powers decree no.
state security service
peoples' rights
decree
order of mandamus
laws of the federation
provisions of chapter iv
honourable court
international flavour
national assembly
detention order no.
trial court
enforcement procedure
decree no.
detention of the applicant chief gani fawehinmi
arrest of the applicant
state security
further elucidation of the issues
chief gani fawehinmi
time of his arrest
such treaty
tuesday january
respectful view
respect of any action
parts of the judgment of the court


MICHAEL EKUNDAYO OGUNDARE, JSC (Delivering the Leading Judgment): The facts of this case are simple enough. The respondent, a legal practitioner, was arrested without warrant at his residence on Tuesday January 30, 1996 at about 6 a.m., by six men who identified themselves as operatives of the State Security Service (hereinafter is referred to as SSS) and policemen, and taken away to the office of the SSS at Shangisha where he was detained. At the time of his arrest the respondent was not informed of, nor charged with, any offence. He was later detained at the Bauchi prisons. In consequence, he applied ex-parte through his counsel, to the Federal High Court, Lagos pursuant to the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 1979 for the following reliefs against the 4 respondents who are now appellants before us and shall hereinafter be referred to as appellants:-

1. A declaration that the arrest of the applicant, Chief Gani Fawehinmi at his residence at 9A Ademola Close GRA, Ikeja…

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