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Court hears Evan’s N300m suit against police



A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday heard the N300m fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans.

In his ruling, Justice Abdulaziz Anka, dismissed the objection filed by the police against the hearing of the application on the grounds that the Inspector-General of Police (IG) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) were served court papers in Lagos instead of Abuja.

Anka upheld the argument of Evans’ counsel, 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 in Lagos.

The court also agreed with Ogungbeje that Emmanuel Eze, who appeared for the third and fourth respondents, had no right to speak for the IG and the NPF, being the first and second respondents.

The judge agreed that the suit would be heard yesterday, 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 and prepare for the hearing also failed as Anka held that the counsel 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 argued that the continued detention of Evans without a court order was unlawful and a violation of his rights under sections 35 (1) (c) (3) (4) (5) (a) (b) and 36 of the Constitution.

He, therefore, urged the court to compel the police to charge Evans to court immediately or release him if they were not ready to arraign him.But opposing him, Eze, who appeared for the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), insisted that Evans’ rights were not being violated.
He said Section 35(7) of the Constitution gave the police powers to detain a suspected capital offender without any court order.

Besides, he argued that the offences allegedly committed by Evans were grave and as such his fundamental rights were not absolute, adding that it would be dangerous to release Evans.

Henry Obasi, who subsequently announced appearance for the IG and the NPF, pursued the same line of argument and urged Anka to dismiss Evans’ suit.But Ogungbeje urged the judge to discountenance Obasi’s submission, saying he did not file any court paper on the IG and NPF behalf.
Anka adjourned till August 29, 2017, for judgment after listening to arguments from all parties.

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