IMO State High Court in Owerri yesterday declined an application by former Governor Ikedi Ohakim for some policemen and a business woman, Ms. Chinyere Amuchienwa-Igwebe, to be imprisoned.
Ohakim filed a suit to enforce his fundamental rights. According to him, the respondents disobeyed a September 10 court order for them to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the substantive suit.
His lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, said the former governor, on September 10, got a restraining order against officers – DCP. Kolo Yusuf; SP. Mohammed Yusuf; Stanley Nwodo; Orji Kanu and Commissioner of Police Tuesday Osayemo, all of whom are of the Prosecution Section of the police headquarters in Abuja.
Ejimakor said the order was duly served on all the parties. He noted that the police, acting through the officers and on apparent prompting from Ms. Amuchienwa-Igwegbe, proceeded to file charges against Ohakim and caused the charge to be published in newspapers and the social media.
The lawyer noted that subsequent summons for Ohakim’s alleged arraignment on November 11 was also published in newspapers but was not served on him. It was in view of the developments that he applied to the court for committal on the officers involved.
He said: “The business of the court today is form 49 which has been filed and served. It was served on November 4. We’re trying to restrain the police from doing anything.
“However, we proceeded with the form 49 since it has become clear that the order has been disobeyed. We have also served the police.”
Lawyer to the police and its agents, M. O. Omosun, and that of Ms. Amuchienwa-Igwebe, I. O. Nwaeze, opposed the application, saying the order had been varied and already expired as at September 25.
Nwaeze drew the court’s attention to Order 9 rule 1 of the fundamental right enforcement procedure rule 2009, which states that nothing should stop the hearing for breach of fundamental right.
He thus applied that the counter affidavit of the fifth respondent (Amuchienwa-Igwe), which was filed out of time, be regularised so that the matter of fundamental right would be taken.
Justice I. G. Chukwunyere, who refused to grant the complainant’s application, said the substantive suit needed to be looked into.
“Pursuant to Order 9 rule 1, and also Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, and having critically considered them, I therefore grant leave to the fifth respondent to regularise the application,” Justice Chukwunyere said.
The judge adjourned the definite hearing for fundamental right till December 3.
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