Court to rule on Evans N300m suit against IGP, others on Wednesday

A Federal High Court in Lagos, presided by Justice Abdulaziz Anka has fixed Wednesday, August 16, to rule on a suit filed by suspected billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, known as Evans, suing the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for N300 million.

The sequence of events:

  • Evans filed the suit to challenge his continued and unlawful detention by the police.
  • The Nigerian Police replied, saying they had obtained a document from the court allowing them to detain Evans for three months. The document was obtained so that they thoroughly investigate the case against the kidnap kingpin.
  • Evans himself denied knowledge of the lawsuit. In other words, his lawyer filed the suit on his behalf.

What is happening now:

  • At Tuesday’s proceedings Evans’ counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje, told the court that all the respondents had been served and that the suit was ripe for hearing.
  • However, counsel for the Lagos CP and SARS, Emmanuel Eze, said the IG and the Nigeria Police Force had not been duly served and as such the case could not be heard. Eze argued that Order 5 Rule 8 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Rules required that service of court papers on the IG and the NPF must be personal.
  • Ogungbeje argued that by virtue of Order 5 Rule 2 of the Fundamental Rights Procedure Rules 2009, the IG and the NPF could be served through their agents and had thus been served through their legal offices at Alagbon, Lagos.

He said, “The 1st and 2nd defendants have been duly served by the bailiff of this court on the 29th of June, 2017. The proof of service, as done by the bailiff of this court, is in Your Lordship’s file. I urge Your Lordship to rely heavily on the proof of service in Your Lordship’s file,” Ogungbeje said.

  • He argued further that Eze had no right to speak for the IGP and the NPF since he did not announce appearance for them and did not file a counter-affidavit to contradict the proof of service.
  • He urged the judge to go ahead and hear the application, adding that a defendant in a civil case could not be compelled to appear in court if he chose to stay away.

He continued, “As we speak, the applicant is still in detention. The coast is clear and we urge Your Lordship to allow us to take this application,” Ogungbeje said.

Joined as respondents in the suit are the Inspector-General of Police, the Nigeria Police Force, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

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