Southeast Indigenes Sue Buhari, AGF over Discrimination in $22.7bn Loan Disbursement

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Indigenes of the Southeast region have sued President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) before the Federal High Court over the exclusion of the region in the $22.7 billion loan sought from the EXIM Bank of China, World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Japan International Corporation Agency, German Development Bank, and French Development Agency.

The indigenes in a fundamental right enforcement suit are contending that the exclusion of the Southeast from the said loan amounts to a breach of their rights as enshrined in section 42(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution.

The suit filed by counsel to the applicant, Okoro Nkemakolam specifically sought for an order of court, declaring the decisions and actions of president Buhari to the exclusion of the Applicant and the entire indigenes of the Igbo ethnic group, of the Southeast of Nigeria, comprising of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, States as illegal, null and void.

The applicant noted that while the indigenes and the diverse ethnic groups, of Southwest, Southsouth, Northwest, Northeast, and Northcentral, were all captured in the loan, the South-East are completely left of it.

The applicant alleged that the sum $200,000,000.00 was allocated to the Southwest, the sum of $4,270,000,000.00 to the south-South, the sum of $6,372,000,000.00 to the NorthWest, the sum of $300,000,000.00; to the Northeast, the sum of $6,531,000,000 to the North Central from the $22.7bn loan for developmental projects to be cited in the said zones for their benefits.

The indigenes are accordingly asking the court to declare the actions of the respondents as invalid, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever, as same is in breach, breaching and/or likely to breach their fundamental rights as provided for in 42(1) (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 2, 13,19, 22 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 25(c)and 26 of The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 2,7,21(2), and 22 Of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1948.

An order of court directing the 1st Respondent (Buhari) to include the interest of the Applicant and other indigenes of the Igbo ethnic group of the Southeast of Nigeria, comprising of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, States in the share, allocation and distribution of projects, with respect to the $22.7b loan sought by the president and approved by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in accordance with the provisions of section 42(1&2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 2, 13,19, 22 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 25(c)and 26 of The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 2,7,21(2), and 22) of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights,1948.

An order of injunction restraining the respondents from further proceeding with, or continuing with the disbursement of the sum of $22.7b loan, sought by the president from allocating, or executing any projects to the benefit of indigenes and the various ethnic groups, in the Southwest, South south, Northwest, North east and North central, of Nigeria, without the inclusion of the interest of the Applicant, and all other indigenes of the Southeast of Igbo ethnic group of Nigeria, comprising of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, States.

The suit which is supported by a 50-paragraphs affidavit deposed to by Uche Joy Ihuoma, a law office secretary in the chambers of Nkem Okoro, contended that “Nigeria is made up six geopolitical zones as follows; Southeast, Southsouth, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast and Northcentral.

“That each of these geopolitical zones has different ethnic groups who, who are indigenes and are ultimately the direct beneficiaries of these projects.

“That all the other five geopolitical zones, and their indigenes of diverse ethnicity, benefitted from the share, allocation distribution of projects, from the loan of $22.7b, sought from, the Exim Bank of China, World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Japan International Corporation Agency, German Development Bank and French Development Agency, by the 1st Respondent.

That out of the six geopolitical zones, it was only the indigenes of the southeast geopolitical zone, which is made of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, States, of which the Applicant is one of them, that were discriminated against and marginalized in respect of the share, allocation and distribution of tangible developmental projects, from the loan of $22.7b.

The Applicant, and other indigenes of the Southeast states, of the Igbo ethnic group, are being discriminated against by virtue of the conducts of the 1st Respondent, who discriminated against them, on the basis of their ethnicity, political opinion, and place of origin, in the distribution of projects accruing from the loan of $22.7b.

By the provisions of section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 2, 13(2&3),19,21, 22 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 25(c)and 26 of The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 2,7,21(2),22, and 25(1) Of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights,1948, the Applicant, and all other indigenes of the Southeast states of Igbo ethnic group, are protected against discriminatory treatments on the basis of their ethnicity, political opinion, and place of birth.

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