Goodluck Jonathan Must Appear In Court For Questioning – Federal High Court

The Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday nullified an application by former President Goodluck Jonathan seeking an order setting aside the subpoena issued on him to appear in court.

The court, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, also dismissed an application by a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, seeking an adjournment pending the determination of his motion pending before the Court of Appeal to challenge the subpoena issued on him to appear in the case.
Justice Abang held that granting Dasuki’s application would amount to flouting the earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on September 29, directing him to sign and ensure the execution of the subpoena on Dasuki.
Jonathan had in his own application, sought an order setting aside the subpoena issued on him or in the alternative directing Metuh to deposit N1bn to cover his travelling expenses to travel to Abuja to testify.
But the judge after hearing Jonathan’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and Metuh’s defence team, who opposed the application, held that he had no jurisdiction to entertain the application.
The court held that since the ex-President had yet to be served with the court’s subpoena directing him to appear in court, it was not enough for him to rely on news reported in the media to file the application.
“It is my humble view that I lack jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by the applicant, that is, His Excellency, Goodluck Jonathan. From the records of the court, it is not in dispute that Dr. Jonathan has yet to be served with the subpoena issued by this court on October 23, 2017 on the application of the 1st defendant (Metuh).
“Unless his Excellency, Dr. Jonathan is served with the subpoena and the proof of service is duly filed and placed before the court, I have no jurisdiction in making an enforceable order, which is executory in nature, even if the order is declaratory, either in his favour or against him.
“Service of the court process on him goes to the root of adjudication, the absence of which nullifies the proceedings, no matter how well conducted. I do not want to work in vein. It is even not proper to work in vein.
“Dr. Jonathan, with the greatest respect to him, cannot rely on a newspaper publication or news item from the electronic media to come to the conclusion that the subpoena is vague. It is a hearsay evidence, which has no relevance in court of law.
Booking.com “The issue of alleged invasion of his right to personal liberty or privacy can only be considered where he is in court and in the witness box and he is asked questions. If there is an objection then, the court will determine if such question infringes on his right to personal liberty, not when he has not been served and he is not in court.
“The application is likened to a defendant arraigned in a criminal matter, except his plea is taken, the court will not have jurisdiction to take decisions for or against the defendant. See the case of Mohammed Abacha vs Federal Republic of Nigeria, reported in Part 1042 NWLR. Except Dr. Jonathan is served with the subpoena, I have no jurisdiction to entertain his application.
“I am inclined to dismiss this application because it has been argued on the merit, but reluctantly. I am going to strike it out. The application is struck out for want of jurisdiction.”
Justice Abang fixed November 3 for ruling.

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