By INIABASI UMO
The Federal High Court, Court 2, sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has awarded N5,000 apiece as delay charges against the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Speaker, Mr. Onofiok Luke and the Department of State Service.
Presiding judge, Justice Fatun Riman, on Monday, awarded the costs against Luke and the DSS who are respondents in the case of infringement of the fundamental human rights of Dr. David Udo.
The judge awarded the amount against the respondents over their delay in filing their cases after listening to arguments from counsel to both parties.
Counsel to the applicant, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, said the award signalled Riman’s view to discourage further delay in the matter.
He said the address filed against the respondents was in reaction to the counter-affidavit and the written address to the main application.
He stated that they were surprised that the respondents still appeared in court and complained that since the plaintiff had reacted to the objection they raised on the suit, they be given time to also file a rejoinder on point of law.
He said: “His lordship graciously awarded N5000 against the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Onofiok Luke, in favour of the applicant, it also awarded the cost of N5000 against the State Security Service and Mr. Courage Nugueson who is the security detail attached to the speaker. We thank the court for that.”
“A fundamental right matter has been filed against the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the police and the DSS. We have filed our response contradicting completely what they had said,” he added.
Lead counsel to the speaker, Mr. Ekemini Udim, said Luke is innocent of what he has been accused of.
He noted that they have filed their response to that effect.
He said: “Today in court we have moved our motion for the counter affidavit and the written address to be deemed as properly filed. The court graciously granted that application. So, we are on course in our defence of the good name of the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr. Onofiok Luke.”