An Epe division High Court of Lagos State, has dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit brought against the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and some of his officers, by three indigenes of Ibeju-Lekki Local Government, Lagos State.
Justice Wasiu Animahun, who presided over the court, after perusing all the processes filed by the parties and considered submissions made by their counsel, dismissed the applicants’ suit for been frivolous and lacking in merit.
Justice Animahun also awarded a cost of N250, 000, against the applicants, jointly and severally, in favour of IGP and five of his men.
The three applicants in the suit marked EPD/11589MFHR/2021, filed by their lawyer, Ufomba Chinemerem, are; kamilu Ibilola, Ismaila Ibilola and Nurudeen Adegbose.
While those listed as first to six respondents were: the IGP; the AIG, ForceC.I.D, Alagbon, Lagos; the Officer-In-Charge, Special Enquiry Bureau, (ForceC.I.D), Alagbon, Lagos; Commissioner of Police, Lagos State; The Area Commander, Area J Command, Elemoro, Lagos and ASP Chidi Njoku. And Lekan Asumo; Jimoh Hassan and Sharafa Hassan, listed as seventh to ninth respondents.
The applicants in their suit brought before the court pursuant to Order 2 Rules 1, 2, 3 and 5 of the fundamental rights (enforcement procedure) Rules 2009, and sections 34(1), 35(1), 37, 39(1), 40, 42(1) and 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), asked the court for a declaration that the criminal complaint of the seventh to ninth respondents to the first to sixth respondents against them on allegations bordering purely on title to land, oral history, succession arising from title to a portion of their family land at Igando Village, Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State, is baseless, unfounded and malicious.
“A declaration that their arrest, and persistent threat of arrest and detention by the first to sixth respondents and some other unknown police officers, at their various formations at the instances of the seventh to ninth respondents, over the allegations of the family history and land succession both Civil in nature between them and seventh to ninth respondents, who are members of the respective indigenous land owning families which said the issue can only be resolved by civil orders of the court declaration and injunction, is a brazen calculated attempt to violate their fundamental right to personal liberty and freedom of movement as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) 2011.
“An order of the Court restraining the first to sixth respondents from arresting, detaining them upon the criminal complaint of the seventh to ninth respondents of the allegations of the family succession/title to land, save in accordance with the law.
“An order restraining first to sixth respondentis from further harassing, intimidating and threatening the dignity, liberty and or freedom of the applicants or taking any steps that will violate the fundamental rights of the Applicants.
Countering the applicants’ suit, the IGP and his men, represented by Barrister Morufu Animashaun, a legal officer at ForceCID, Alagbon, who filed and argued a 13 paragraph-affidavit deposed to by Mojisola Balogun, an Assistant Inspection of Police (ASP), asked the court to dismiss the suit for being frivolous and lacking in merit, as it was aimed to to stall and frustrate the investigation of criminal complaints against them.
Animashaun had told the court that the applicants were only invited for questioning on criminal complaints of criminal invasion of property, threat to life, conspiracy to kill and breach of the Public peace dated by 7, 2021, by the Baale of their community and the accredited representatives of Onosa Community.
The police lawyer had told the court that the first to sixth respondents are empowered to investigate all crimes about to be committed, and including crimes committed. Adding that the applicants’ fundamental Rights was never violated or threatened to be violated by the police.
He had also argued that the applicants’ fundamental rights are not being threatened and will not be violated by the police; but their suit was a clever attempt to evade criminal investigation against them. And that the evidence against them were not hearsay but weighty enough to proceed against them in the court of law after conclusion of investigation.
He therefore asked the court to dismiss the application with punitive cost.
Delivering judgment on the suit last week, Justice Animahun held among others that “there is no indication that the applicants’ rights who were only invited on the crimes they committed, have been breached.”
The judge consequently dismissed the applicants’ suit against all the respondents and ordered that the sum of N250, 000, be paid each of the first to sixth respondents by the applicants, jointly or severally.