Judgment into the fundamental rights enforcement suit application filed by billionaire kidnapper Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans was yesterday stalled due to an application filed by the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force.
The trial judge, Justice Abdulaziz Anka, who had earlier fixed yesterday for judgment in the suit was forced to September 5 to hear arguments from counsels to all the parties on why he should not deliver judgment.
Evans had filed the suit against the Inspector-General of Police(IGP), Ibrahim Idris and three others to challenging his arrest and continue detention by the police.
On August 16, 2017, the judge had heard the application and fixed Tuesday to deliver a judgment but the first and second respondents, the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force did not send a legal representative throughout the hearing.
However, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the third and fourth respondents, were represented by lawyers who argued that their colleagues were not served the court process.
At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, David Igbodo, a lawyer, announced appearance for the first and second respondents, saying they did not receive any court process in Abuja.
Igbodo, a Commissioner of Police (Legal), said they had filed a motion before the judge making five applications, including an order seeking to set aside the ruling on August 16 as well as the adjournment for judgment without hearing his clients.
He also said the police was seeking an order to set aside the purported application and submission made by Henry Obiazi without authority, and an order granting leave to the first and second respondents to file their counter affidavits.
He said, “Parties have been served though the applicant, I was told, refused to accept service.
“The application is before your lordship, it’s our belief that this court is a court of justice,” Igbodo maintained.
In his response, Ogungbeje said he never received any application from the police, insisting that the business of the court for Tuesday was to deliver judgment and not to entertain fresh applications.
“It is our strong view to the learned counsel to the first and second respondents that his application is calculated to arrest the judgment of the court,” said Mr. Ogungbeje.
The lawyer also said he could not have refused service from the police because he was out of town.
In a short ruling Justice Anka held that he would not go ahead and read the judgment when there are pending applications before him.
“The question is, can I still go ahead when there are still motions before me and the fact that the applicant refused service?” The judge asked.
“I’ve read the case file, I’ve seen the processes attached inclusive of a court order.”
After the judge said he would be unable to go ahead with the judgment until the pending applications before him are heard, the lawyers from both sides could not agree on the next date for adjournment.
Igbodo said he would be traveling to China on official assignment next week and requested for a date in the last week of September.
“This matter is very important to the IG (Inspector General). Before that 25th of September, the applicant will be charged to court,” Igbodo added.
But Ogungbeje disagreed, insisting that his client needs to know his fate as soon as possible.
The judge stood down the matter for both parties to agree on a date, and later adjourned to September 5 to hear arguments.
In the suit, Evans is asking court for an order directing the respondents to immediately charge him to court in accordance with constitutional provisions, if there existed any case against him.
Or in the alternative, the court should issue an order, compelling the respondents to immediately release him unconditionally in the absence of any charge.