A 25-year-old man, Suleiman Sadi, has sued the Inspector-General (IG) of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) over alleged unlawful killing and harassment of the Shi’ite members on peaceful religious practice.
The plaintiff, through his lawyer, Bala Dakum, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1147/2021 dated and filed on October 4 at the Federal High Court, Abuja, and also sued the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce, Commandant-General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Attorney General of Federation (AGF) as 3rd to 6th defendants respectively.
The IG and the DSS DG in the originating summons brought under Order 3, Rules 6 and 7 of the Civil Procedure Rules, 2009 of the court, among others, are 1st and 2nd defendants.
The plaintiff, who averred that the procession carried out on September 27 and 28 was conducted peacefully, said the security agents’ attack on them was unprovoked.
The affidavit in support stated that the security forces warned that that they do not have the right to carry out the said religious exercise even when it was absolutely peaceful.
Sadi sought seven consequential reliefs and wants the court to declare that ‘by virtue of Section 38(1), 40 and 42(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), he and other Nigerian Shi’ite Muslims are guaranteed freedom to peacefully assemble, associate and practise their religion in public in any part of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
“That the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants, their agents or privies cannot restrain the plaintiff and other Nigerian Shi’ite Muslims from assembling, associating and peacefully practising their religion in public in any part of of Nigeria, including the FCT, Abuja.
“That the arrest, detention, maltreatment and killing of several Shi’ite Muslims who assembled at Gwarimpa, the FCT, Abuja on 28th September, 2021, to carry out peaceful religious procession by the agents of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants, their agents or privies amounted to violation of their rights to freedom of religion, association and peaceful assembly.
‘That by virtue of Section 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the 6th defendant (AGF) is under duty to advice the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants on the legality of their action in enforcing of law and order and was under duty to advise them on the operations carried out against the plaintiff and other Nigerian Shi’ite Muslims while on peaceful religious procession on the said date.
“That by virtue of Section 5(3) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 (as amended), the 1st defendant (I-G) is under duty to protect Nigerian Shi’ite Muslims who engaged in peaceful religious procession and all Nigerians alike.”