F.R.A. Williams V. Dr. M.a. Majekodunmi (1962)
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This is an ex pane application by Chief F.R.A. Williams, on whom a restriction order, effective from 11a.m. on the 2nd June, 1962, has been served in accordance with the Emergency Powers (Restriction Orders) Regulations, 1962, for an interim injunction restraining the defendant, who is the administrator for the purpose of the regulations, from giving effect to the restriction order or otherwise requiring the applicant’s residence or movement to be restricted pending the determination of a motion on notice filed by the applicant, in which he seeks an interlocutory injunction for the same purpose pending the hearing of an action in which he asks for a declaration that the restriction order, and the legislation under which it was issued are invalid and a permanent injunction to restrain the enforcement of the order. The motion on notice is set down for hearing in this Court on the 4th June.
Parliament has passed a resolution declaring that a state of public emergency exists, and our decision in this application must take account of that resolution. The defendant has been appointed administrator under the authority of regulations approved by Parliament and we must not assume that he exercises the powers conferred on him with anything less than a full sense of responsibility. We do not know, and it is not for us, at this stage at least, to inquire what reasons have led to the service of a restriction order on the applicant. The applicant has sworn, however in his supporting affidavit that the respondent at one time in the course of 31st May told him that an application for permission to attend this Court on the 4th June to argue the motion set down for hearing on that date would be granted, but that later on the same day the respondent informed him that he could no longer undertake to grant the application, the reason the defendant assigned being that he had been informed by the other persons who had been served with similar orders that they also would like similar concessions, and accordingly he felt that in all the circumstances he must reluctantly withdraw his verbal undertaking to give the permission asked for.
We should not feel justified, on this ex parte application, in inquiring into the defendant’s assessment of what steps are necessary for the purpose of maintaining public order, but it would appear from the applicant’s affidavit that the defendant’s change of view was not based on considerations of public order, and we feel entitled to look into the matter for ourselves. The applicant concedes that if he is represented by counsel on the hearing of his motion he will not have been deprived of the right conferred by s. 21 of the constitution of the Federation, but he submits, and there is much force in his submission, that he cannot be compelled to instruct counsel, and that he ought not to be deprived of his right to appear in person unless the needs of public order clearly require it, and he relies on the explanation given to him by the defendant as proof that public order does not require that he should be deprived of this right.
We observe that the defendant is empowered to grant a permit to the applicant to leave the specified area and to attach such terms and conditions to the permit as he deems expedient, and we would express the hope that on further consideration the defendant may feel able to issue a permit. If he does not do so we consider that the applicant has made out a case for being permitted to attend this Court on the 4th June, though we cannot go to the length of restraining the defendant from enforcing the restriction order between 11 a.m. on the 2nd June and the morning of the 4th.
The order of this Court will be-
That the defendant shall be and he hereby is restrained from giving effect or causing effect to be given to the restriction order dated the 29th May, 1962, and served on the plaintiff under the Emergency Powers (Restriction Orders) Regulations, 1962, so far as the said order would restrict the plaintiff from leaving the prescribed area at or after 6 a.m. on the 4th June, 1962, and travelling thence by the normal route to the Federal Supreme Court, Lagos, and there arguing the motion filed by him and set down for hearing on that day;
And that after arguing the said motion the plaintiff shall return without delay by the normal route to the prescribed area unless the court shall otherwise direct;
And that if the defendant grants the plaintiff a permit under regulation 2 of the Emergency Powers (Restriction Orders) Regulations, 1962, to enable him to attend this Court and argue the said motion this order shall be of no effect.
Other Citation: (1962) LCN/0987(SC)