By Nwafor Okafor
An Awka-based legal practitioner and Human Rights/Public Interest activist, Barr. Francis Moneke has sued the Anambra State Government, Attorney General of Anambra State (who is also the state’s Commissioner for Justice), and the State’s Commissioner of Police, for blockage of Zik’s Avenue Road in Awka, the Anambra State capital, and the Amawbia—Nibo Road.
The roadblocks, according to him are mounted between Ifenna Filling Station and Amawbia Roundabout axis the ever-busy Zik’s Avenue Road; and at Amawbia—Nibo Road, by the Gate of Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia.
Barr. Moneke alleged that the road roadblocks, which have tarried for months, caused him untold hardships and pains in different occasions, on August 14 and 20 respectively. He further stated that the blockage amounts to gross violation of his rights to freedom of movement, as guaranteed under section 41(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 12(1) of the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights (Ratification & Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
According to him, section 41(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that “every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no
Citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom”; while Article 12(1) of the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights (Ratification & Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 provides that “every individual shall have the right to
freedom of movement and residence within the borders of a State provided he abides by the law.”
In a suit, filed in the State High Court in Awka, with the suit number A/MISC194/2021, the lawyer challenges the blockage, which, he explained, was mounted by or in line with order from the first respondent, Anambra State Governor, and the second respondent, the State’s Commissioner of Police.
He prayed the court to order the Respondents to forthwith remove or direct to be removed, every roadblock on Zik’s Avenue, Awka, between Airtel office and Amawbia Roundabout, and on Amawbia—Nibo Road, by the gate of the Governor’s Lodge, and indeed on every road in Anambra State, and to open up all road closures, to allow free and unrestricted movement of law-abiding and good people of Anambra State and Nigerians in general.
He also prayed for order restraining the Respondents from partially or totally closing any road in Anambra State that is meant for the free movement of law-abiding and good people of Anambra State and Nigerians in general
For damages, Barr. Moneke further prayed the court to order the Respondents, jointly or severally, to pay him the sum of ten million naira (N10, 0000,000) for unlawful restriction of his movement and wanton violation of fundamental rights to freedom of movement, as are guaranteed in the Constitution.