In a recent development, the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has been directed by the Federal High Court in Abuja to pay the sum of N500 million to the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Murtala Ajaka. The court found Governor Bello guilty of violating Ajaka’s fundamental rights.
Justice Inyang Ekwo delivered the ruling on Thursday, also mandating Governor Bello to publicly apologize to Ajaka “for the gross and unwarranted violation” of his rights. The High Court judge further instructed security agencies and their heads to ensure Ajaka’s safety.
As part of the court’s decision, an injunction was issued, restraining security agencies from engaging in the arrest, abduction, detention, or any form of harassment, intimidation, shooting, or threats against Ajaka’s life and properties.
The legal action was initiated by Murtala Ajaka, who sought judicial protection against Governor Bello. The originating motion (FHC/ABJ/CS/952/2023), filed on July 11 by Ajaka’s lawyer, S.E. Aruwa, SAN, named the Nigeria Police Force, the Inspector General of Police, Kogi State Commissioner of Police, the Department of State Service (DSS), and the Director General of the DSS as respondents.
Other respondents included the Director of the DSS Command in Kogi, the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, and the Chief of Naval Staff.
It’s worth noting that Murtala Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party candidate, contested the Kogi State governorship election and lost to Governor Bello’s supported candidate, Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress. The court’s decision reflects a significant legal development in the aftermath of the election.