Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Court dismisses Police arguments against Evans’ N300m suit

The Federal High Court in Lagos Wednesday, dismissed the objection of the police to the hearing of the N300 million fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, known as Evans.

Justice Abdulaziz Anka dismissed the argument by the police that the case was not ripe for hearing because the Inspector-General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force were served with court papers in Lagos rather than in Abuja.

Justice Anka upheld the argument by Evans’ lawyer, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, that by virtue of Order 5 Rule 2 of the Fundamental Rights Procedure Rules 2009, the IG and the NPF were rightly served through their agents at Alagbon in Lagos.

The court also agreed with Ogungbeje that Mr Emmanuel Eze, who appeared for the 3rd and 4th respondents in the case, had no right to speak for the IG and the NPF, which was joined in the suit as the 1st and 2nd respondents respectively. The judge agreed that the suit could be heard as there was proof of service on the IG and the NPF, which was exhibited before the court.

 Eze’s bid to get an adjournment so as to go and prepare well for the hearing of the case also failed as Justice Anka held that the Counsel has had enough time to prepare since June when the case was filed.

 Arguing his client’s case, Ogungbeje insisted that the police had violated Evans’ rights by detaining him since June 10, 2017, without charging him to court. He contended that the continued detention of Evans without a court order was unlawful and a violation of the suspect’s rights under sections 35 (1) (c) (3) (4) (5) (a) (b) and 36 of the Constitution.

He urged the court to compel the police to charge Evans to court immediately or to release him and let him go if they were not ready to bring him to court and arraign him.

But opposing him, Eze, who appeared for the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, insisted that Evans’ rights were not being violated, because, according to him, Section 35(7) of the Constitution gave the police power to detain a suspected capital offender without any court order.

Besides, he argued that the offences allegedly committed by Evans were grievous and as such his fundamental rights were not absolute.

 Eze said it would be premature for the police to either charge Evans to court for now or release him because the suspect was helping the police in investigations towards tracking down his gang members.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Justice Anka adjourned till August 29, 2017, for judgment.

The Nigerian Police said they had secured an order of the Federal High Court to detain Evans for at least three months.

However, it seems they have not presented that document in court, reason Ogungbeje still argues that Evans rights are being violated.

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