Reprieve on Monday came the way of one Mr. Okwuchukwu Obiechina, the brother-in-law of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans as a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on Monday entered judgment against the Nigeria Police Force in the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the applicant.
In the judgment yesterday, Justice Mohammed Idris, declared Obiechina’s arrest and detention unconstitutional, holding that the remand order which the police claimed to have obtained from a magistrates’ court was invalid.
Apart from ordering the police to immediately release Obiechina unconditionally or charge him to court if they have any case against him, the court also awarded N2m damages in his favour against the police.
Justice Idris ordered the police to tender a public apology to Obiechina to be published in two national dailies.
The court had on October 23 said it would deliver judgement yesterday in a fundamental rights enforcement suit brought by Okwuchukwu Obiechina, a brother and his wife, Nzube, against the police for alleged illegal detention.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the Nigeria Police and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad were joined as co-respondents in the suit.
In the suit, the duo claimed they had been in detention since June 2 owing to their relationship with Evans.
Justice Idris had on October 10, in a ruling on an ex-parte application filed by lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Olukoya Ogungbeje, directed the police to produce the applicants in court to show cause why a release order should not be made.
However, Ogungbeje, asked the court to vacate the order to pave way for the hearing of the substantive suit.
Arguing the substantive suit, the lawyer claimed his clients have been in police custody since June 2 in connection with the criminal charge brought against Evans.
He said the respondents’ admittance in their counter affidavit that the applicants were only detained for 6 days has confirmed his clients’ claims of illegal detention.
He further argued that contrary to the claims by the police, it is yet to secure any remand order to detain his clients.
Ogungbeje added that till date, the respondents are yet to disclose any reason why they should continue to hold on to the applicants.
However, in his submissions, respondents’ lawyer, Emmanuel Eze, said claims of illegal detention of the applicants do not arise as the police had already secured a remand order from a magistrate court.
He argued that Obiechina and his wife were arrested by the police on reasonable suspicion of engaging in kidnapping and murder.
Eze further alleged that Obiechina made attempt to truncate Evans’ trial by demobilizing about 9 trucks that were recovered from him. He urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost.