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Court to rule on warrant of arrest case against Ebonyi CP over non-compliance to court judgment

By Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri
29 September 2022   |   4:55 am
A Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, presided over by Justice F. O. Riman, will, tomorrow, September 30, 2022, take a decision on the warrant of arrest issued against

Ebonyi State… PHOTO: NNAMDI AKPA<br />

A Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, presided over by Justice F. O. Riman, will, tomorrow, September 30, 2022, take a decision on the warrant of arrest issued against the State Commissioner of Police and one Samuel Okoro over their failure to obey court order.

The court had, on May 22, 2022, issued a warrant of arrest against them after the duo failed to comply with a court order of May 18, 2017, to pay the sum of N2 million compensation, release the motorcycle and signpost belonging to members of Bilie Human Rights Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

The warrant of arrest reads: “Whereas Commissioner of Police, Police Headquarters, Abakaliki, is bound by recognisance to appear before this court on May 31, 2022, but has failed to so appear,
you are, hereby, commanded to arrest the said third respondent and bring them before me, at Federal High Court, Abakaliki, without delay.”

The matter started in 2014 when members of the NGO, whose objectives are to ensure that the rights of Nigerians are respected, were holding their meeting at the residence of one Chief Aguneche Ibe, in Onicha Council of Ebonyi State, to discuss issues of a newly acquired office accommodation, its renovation and furnishing for the organisation, when police operatives (defunct Special Anti -robbery Squad (SARS), swooped on them, arrested and seized their motorcycle, signpost and detained them for 16 days without food, an action regarded to be in violation of human right.

Angered by that, a suit No. FHC/Al/ CS/42/2014 was filed at the Federal High Court, Abakaliki, by the aggrieved detained persons’ lawyer, Ibe Nwachukwunta, against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF); the Inspector General of Police (IGP); the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State, and Samuel Okoro, claiming compensation.

The applicants have incorporated trustees of Bilie Human Rights Initiative, Ogbonnaya Chukwu, Goodwill Ogbonna, Innocent Okpala, Chikwado Chukwu, Kingsley Ekwueme and Chief Aguneche Ibe.

The then justice of the court (not the present judge) had, in May 18, 2017, after listening to arguments and submissions of applicants and respondents’ counsels, in his judgment, ordered that the third respondent, CP of Ebonyi State, and the fourth respondent, Okoro, should pay the sum of N2 million to the NGO, return its motorcycle and signpost.