The Federal High Court Abuja, on Monday, ordered Kano State Government to unseal the Tiamin Rice Mill which was shut down in April over allegations that it was situated near the state COVID-19 isolation centre.
Justice Okon Abang, gave the order while delivering judgment in the suit filed by Tiamin Rice Producing Company and two others after Kano state government and other defendants failed to show up in court.
Kano state government, the state Commissioner of Police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were named as defendants in the suit.
The trio were challenging the right of the state government to seal the company over allegations that the mill was situated very close to a COVID-19 isolation centre.
And that the fumes from the mill was affecting the COVID-19 patients.
The company argued that it was one of the companies permitted by government to continue production for the purpose of providing food in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In that regard, the company claimed that it was creating job as well as alleviating the people’s hardship induced by the pandemic.
Justice Abang held that the respondents were given opportunity to be heard but failed to make an appearance in court.
The court also noted that the Tiamin had previously been given an exemption by the government to produce more food during the lockdown for Nigerians.
The court therefore ordered the state government to unseal the rice mill noting that sealing without a proper court order constituted violation of the fundamental rights.
The court further ordered the Inspector General of Police and police officers in Kano State Command to immediately take possession and grant the applicant, Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim, access to the property.
The Attorney General of the state was also ordered to ensure that the judgement was complied with.
Speaking to newsmen, Counsel to Ibrahim, Mr Anthony Awomolo (SAN), said that sealing the company by the state government was lawless as it rendered several tonnes of rice useless when Nigerians most needed them