A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday dismissed a suit filed by leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, seeking an order compelling the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to reissue them international passports.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a judgment, held that the couple failed to provided sufficient evidence to show that their passports were either seized, destroyed, lost or that the relevant agency was unwilling to reissue travel documents to them.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that El-Zakzaky and wife, through their lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, in January 2022, sued the NIS and its Comptroller General as 1st and 2nd defendants for alleged refusal to issue new international passports to them.
Also joined in the suit are the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Department of State Services (DSS) as 3rd and 4th defendants respectively.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/22/2022, the applicants prayed the court to enforce their fundamental rights enshrined in the Nigerian constitution and the African Charter of Human and Peoples Right.
They claimed that their earlier passports were seized and apparently destroyed in 2015 when security forces invaded their home.
They prayed the court to declare that the alleged refusal of the NIS to process their travel documents to enable them travel abroad for medical treatment was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
But counsel for the NIS, Jimoh Adamu, had denied the allegations of refusal to issue new passport to the couple, saying his office was conducting investigations.
Adamu in February 2022, approached the court with a motion for joinder praying the court to join the NIA and DSS in the suit.
Justice Egwuatu, who granted the request, had ordered El-Zakzaky to joined NIA and DSS in the amended suit as 3rd and 4th defendants respectively.
Delivering the judgment, the judge held that the applicants did not show that it was the defendants who took their passports but only averred that their passports were either destroyed or lost in 2015 when their residence was attacked by security operatives.
“This application is accordingly dismissed,” Egwuatu declared.