Nigerian human rights lawyer, Malcom Omirhobo, has sued the President, governors of the 36 states of the federation, and their attorneys general. The lawyer is praying the court compels the government to allow Nigerians own AK-47 rifles to defend selves against criminals.
The case was brought before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja yesterday by four counsels representing their clients at the proceedings.
After hearing the suit, the Judge adjourned the matter till January 24, 2023. The adjournment was to enable the plaintiff to serve all court processes to the defendants. The counsels at the briefing did not object to the move.
Speaking to members of the Press after the court ruling, Barrister Omirhobo stated that he saw the need to file the case before the courts because he was concerned by the rising cases of armed violence and kidnapping in the country. He also added that the insecurity in the country had given him the need to arm himself with a weapon.
The human rights lawyer had tried but failed to acquire a license to purchase and own a firearm. During his speech to the reporters, he faulted the Nigerian government for refusing to grant him a license to own an assault rifle for self-defense.
The human rights lawyer asked the Judge to declare that the action is unlawful and illegal, stating that denying him the right to own a weapon was contrary to Section 3 of the Fire Arms Act Cap. F 28, Laws of the Federation 2004.
Barrister Malcom Omirhobo is also asking the court to order Buhari, the Inspector-General of Police, and all Commissioners of Police in Nigeria to renew all expired gun licenses upon application by the applicants to enable them to exercise their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution from attacks of heavily armed criminals.
In a suit earlier filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the lawyer asked the court to grant an order of the court compelling the President and other relevant licensing authorities to grant him and all Nigerians permission and licenses to own AK-47 riffles since it was also the weapon of choice for bandits in the country. He added that AK-47 rifles should not only be restricted to Armed Forces members.
This is not the first time Barrister Malcom Omirhobo would be making international headlines. In June this year, the human rights lawyer caused a stir at a Federal High Court in Lagos when he appeared in court dressed like a juju priest.
When asked about his decision to participate in court sessions dressed as a native doctor, he said his decision was "in response to the Supreme Court judgment [a few weeks before] against the Lagos State Government that female Muslim pupils can now wear hijabs to school. I am being satirical; I am trying to comply with that judgment.
"By that judgment, they are saying that wearing a hijab is a mode of worship by female Muslim pupils and any attempt to deprive them of that will amount to the violation of their fundamental human right, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and stopping or harassing them will amount to a violation of their right to dignity of their persons.
"It is not just an Islamic or private school; it is a public school. Nigeria is a multi-religious society. We have the traditional worshippers, Christians, Muslims, Rastafarians, and Buddhists. The judgement implies that as long as we all have rights, we all can be allowed to go to our places of work or school in our religious attire."
He added, "I am waiting to be told that I am not properly dressed. They should tell me what proper dressing is, according to the Constitution of Nigeria. Is there anything in the Legal Practitioners Act that defines the kind of dress I must wear?
"Whatever we wear is based on the convention that we should wear black and white. Can convention supersede the constitution? The law says one (law graduate) will be called to the Bar and wear a wig and gown. Did the law say I should not wear a feather on my head?
"Did it say I must wear black and white? The law didn't say so. So, what we are wearing is just about culture, and culture does not supersede the constitution. So, that just shows there is a lacuna in our laws. They need to look at them critically. Nobody should tell me what is decent about dressing."
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