Extra-judicial killings: Lawyer vows to appeal against judgement dismissing appeal against FG 


A human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ekpenyong, has vowed to appeal a judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division which dismissed his case against the federal government.

The suit instituted by Ekpenyong  bothered on alleged prevalence of extra-judicial killings in the country.

The Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s judgment that dismissed his suit seeking to address the increasing cases of extra-judicial killings by the law enforcement agencies and non-state actors.

However, Ekpenyong, an Abuja based legal practitioner of the law firm of Fred-Young & Evans LP said he would seek redress at the Supreme Court.

The three-member Justices, chaired by Justice Joseph Oyewole, it would be recalled, unanimously held that the appellant lacked requisite locus standi to file the appeal.

“A detailed perusal of the earlier outlined surviving paragraphs of the appellant’s originating summons fails to disclose a reasonable cause of action as to vest the appellant with the requisite locus standi. 

“While the courts have a duty to ensure that genuinely aggrieved citizens are not shut out, this does not entail entertaining hypothetical and academic issues as contained in the appellant’s originating summons. 

“The power conferred on the courts by Section 6(6) of the Constitution must be deployed to resolving real disputes and attending to genuine grievances. 

“It does not extend to the consideration of academic and hypothetical questions and issues,” Justice Oyewole, in the lead judgment,” said.

On whether the cost of N100,000 awarded against the appellant was excessive and meant to punish him for daring to apply to the court for interpretation of the extent of his fundamental right, the appellate court resolved the two issues against Ekpenyong.

Justice Oyewole held:  “The costs are awarded at the discretion of the court which discretion must be exercised judicially and judiciously.”

According to him, where the exercise of discretion was lawfully made, an appellate court cannot interfere. 

He agreed with the respondents that the award of cost by the lower court was not punitive, arbitrary or in any manner unlawful. 

“Costs follow events and a public interest action found to be fabulous cannot escape the payment of costs simply on account of being a public interest action.

“I therefore see no basis to interfere with the award of costs made in this instance and I also resolve this issue in favour of the respondents and against the appellant. 

“In totality, this appeal lacks merit and it is accordingly dismissed. 

“Cost of N250, 000 is awarded in favour of the respondents and against the appellant,” Justice Oyewole declared.