Court postpones judgement on suit seeking sack of FIRS chairman, Fowler

Babatunde Fowler, FIRS Chairman
Babatunde Fowler, FIRS Chairman

A Federal High Court in Kano has postponed its judgement earlier slated for Friday in an application seeking the sack of the Federal Inland Revenue Service chairman, Tunde Fowler.

A lawyer representing the applicant in the matter, Johnmary Jideobi, told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday that the judgement could not be delivered because the judge said the court’s decision was not ready.

Mr Jideobi said the trial judge, Lewis, Allagoa, has fixed next Tuesday, October 15 for the announcement of its ruling on the matter.

Mr Jideobi and his client, Stanley Okwara, are asking the court to determine whether the FIRS chairman was not due to vacate his office, given his appointment in 2015.

The lawyer in the Originating Summons posed two questions of law and asked the court to determine, “Whether in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Ogbuinyinya & Ors. vs. Obi Okudo & Ors. (1979) All N.L.R. 105 and having regard to the combined provisions of Sections 3(2) (a), Section 4(a) and Section 11 (a) of the Federal Inland Revenue [Establishment] Act, 2007, the 1st Defendant [who was appointed on the 18th August, 2015] has not ceased to hold office as the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service after the 18th day of August, 2019?”

Another issue for determination is, “Whether the continuous stay of the 1st Defendant as the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service after the 18th day of August 2019 is not illegal in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Ogbuinyinya & Ors. vs. Obi Okudo & Ors. (1979) All N.L.R. 105 and having regard to the combined provisions of Sections 3(2) (a), Section 4(a) and Section 11 (a) of the Federal Inland Revenue [Establishment] Act, 2007 especially when the 1st Defendant was appointed on the 18th day of August 2015?”

The applicant named Mr Fowler and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami as defendants in the suit.

READ ALSO: Lawyer asks court to sack FIRS chief Fowler

Mr Fowler’s lawyer, Paul Erokoro, and his counterpart from the Ministry of Justice, T. A

Ghazali, have asked the court to strike out the application describing it as a waste of the court’s time.

In a notice of preliminary objection dated September 30 and filed on the same day, Mr Erokoro noted that Mr Okwara failed to disclose any special interest in Mr Fowler’s tenure.

Given Mr Okwara’s failure to establish his locus standi to commence the suit and for failing to abide by Section 55 of the FIRS Establishment Act by filing a pre-action notice on the FIRS Chairman, for failing to present any reasonable cause of action, Mr Erokoro asked the court to strike out the suit.

Mr Erokoro’s position was supported by Mr Ghazali during a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES.

At the last hearing, the court had struck out an interim application for the suspension of Mr Fowler from office pending the determination of the matter filed by Mr Jideobi.

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