Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) said it has unsealed the premises of Messrs. Uche-Obi Investment Limited in Jalingo as directed in a Federal High Court judgment in Taraba State, in a suit filed by one Chief Uche Obi seeking a declaration that SON entry to the premises of his company to conduct search was a violation of his right to privacy and the sealing up of his company’s premises on account of suspected substandard building materials was a violation of his fundamental human rights.
According to SON Director of Legal Services, Barrister Bashir Hamis, the organisation unsealed the premises in compliance with the judgment delivered by Justice Simon Amobeda on 22nd July 2022 in Suit No. FHC/JAL/FHR/59/2021: Chief Uche Obi V. SON, but has filed an appeal on the judgement.
Barrister Hamis disclosed that the Court in an earlier judgment in Suit No. FHC/JAL/58/2021 instituted by Messrs. Uche-Obi Investment Limited ruled that the guaranty and protection of the rights to privacy is limited to citizens of Nigeria (natural persons) only and all the fundamental rights provided for in Chapter 9 of the 1999 Constitution and African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act are also guaranteed to and they inure in favour of natural persons (human beings).
The Court held that the fundamental rights enforcement procedure is not the proper procedure for the institution of action by an artificial person to challenge the violation of its rights.
Justice Amobeda stated that the reliefs 1, 3 and 4 sought by Messrs Uche-Obi Investment Limited were not only incompetent as rightly submitted by SON, but also that the entire suit of the Applicant was initiated via a wrong procedure.
He therefore ruled that the Court was divested of jurisdiction to hear and determine the action of the Applicant (Messrs. Uche-Obi Investments Limited), consequently suit no. FHC/JAL/58/2021 of the applicant was struck out for want of jurisdiction, with parties to bear their respective costs.
It will be recalled that SON had sealed up the premises of the company on account of suspected substandard products (building materials) following which the suit was initiated and the company embarked on the construction of another premises for its business in a new location in Jalingo.
Media reports stated that the project of the new premises undertaken by Messrs. Uche-Obi Investment Limited however collapsed while under construction with two people purportedly killed in the incident.
SON and other agencies of the Taraba State Government according to Barrister Hamis are investigating the cause(s) of the collapse of the structure which was reported to have led to the loss of lives and injuries to persons in and around the building.
Paschal Emeka, Abuja