By Mukaila Akodu, Lagos
A fresh application brought by the Nigeria Police has stalled judgment on the N300 million fundamental rights suit filed by alleged kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, a.k.a Evans.
This is because the police had told the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday that they did not authorise any lawyer to represent them in the case.
Counsel to the police, Mr David Igbodo, said he had brought a fresh application, claiming the paramilitary service was not given a “fair hearing” in the case.
Igbodo, a Commissioner of Police in charge of Legal Section at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, is representing the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police (first and second respondents).
He said the lawyer, Mr Henry Obiazi, who had previously argued the case on behalf of the police, was not instructed to act for the IGP or the Police.
“In the pending application which was filed on Aug. 21, the police are praying the court to set aside all the “purported” arguments made by Obiazi in the case,” Igbodo said.
The police through their lawyer also asked the court to set aside the ruling delivered by Justice Anka on August 16 adjourn the case for judgment on Aug. 29.
Igbodo said the judge adjourned the case without hearing from the first and second respondents.
He is asking for an order granting leave to the I-G and the Police to file their counter-affidavits to the suit and for the court to consider their response duly filed and served.
He also noted that the police were not served Evans’ suit, and were not given an opportunity to file a defence.
“We believe, My Lord, understands the principle of fair hearing. We are ready to move the application.”
Evans through his lawyer, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, is asking the court to either order his unconditional release from detention or to charge him to court in addition to a demand for N300 million damages for illegal detention.
Ogungbeje, in his submission, however, urged the judge to go ahead and deliver the judgment.
He said the application by the police was a bid “to arrest the verdict” and should, therefore, be refused.
“We have not been served with that application. On August 16, arguments were taken from all parties and Your Lordship graciously reserved today for judgment.
“It is our strong view that this application is calculated to arrest the judgment. The assertion that we refused service of the fresh application cannot be true when judgment has already been reserved,” he said.
In his ruling, Justice Abdulazeez Anka noted that he could not go on with the judgment in the face of the fresh application.
He adjourned the case until September 5 for hearing.