Justice Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari of a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on Thursday fixed April 19 to deliver judgment in a suit filed by the suspected billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, otherwise known as Evans, against the Inspector General of Police over alleged claim that his 25 trucks were unlawfully seized and confiscated by the Police.
Evans in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/1515/17, accused the Inspector-General of Police and four others of unlawfully seized his 25 trucks and converted same to their own.
Those accused of the act alongside IGP are: Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Inspector-General of Police Response Team (IRT), Lagos State Police Commissioner, and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Evans through his lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, is asking the court to declare that the forceful seizure and confiscation of his 25 Mack trucks with plate numbers: BDG 78 XT, GGE 491 XU, 290 XU, FST 742 XT, AGL 219 XT, AGL 222 XT, GGE 492 XU, AGL 220 XT, GGE 489 XU, and others, on June 15, 2017, without any court order is illegal, wrongful, unlawful, unconstitutional as it violates his fundamental right as guaranteed by section 33 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution.
Evans also sought the court for an order compelling the respondents, their operatives, agents, privies, officers or anybody deriving authority from them to immediately and unconditionally release his 25 Mack trucks, forcefully seized and confiscated from him without any court order.
The suspected billionaire kidnapper also asked for an order compelling the respondents to tender an apology to him and pay him the sum of N200 million, as general and exemplary damages for the threat to his life and rights, harassment, inconvenience, and forceful seizure and confiscation of his 25 Mack trucks.
And an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the respondents, its officers, officials, agents, servants or privies or anybody deriving power from them , from further harassing, intimidating, arresting, detaining, threatening, inviting, forceful seizure and confiscating of his trucks and other properties, charging, seizing or taking any untoward action against him.
But, the IGP and other respondents in the suit, through their lawyer, Emmanuel Eze, urged court to dismiss Evans’ suit with punitive cost stating that all the declarations sought by the applicant, except on the alleged seizure and confiscation of 25 Mack trucks, and an order of payment of N200 million, had been decided by Justice Abdulazeez Anka, on January 16, 2018, in a fundamental rights suit filed by Evans.
He said: “My Lord, the applicant in his counter to our preliminary objection, raised issue that the extant action is distinguishable from the one judgment has been delivered by Justice Anka. The only difference is reliefs one and three, reliefs two, four, and five still talk about some action pending before Anka J, which judgment had been delivered”.
The lawyer to the police also told the court that the applicant (Evans) lied to the court that his were 25 Mack trucks, whereas police only recovered 11 trucks, 10 in Lagos, and one in Anambra states adding that the trucks were purchased by the applicant with proceeds of crime .
The lawyer also told the court that the applicant (Evans) in his confessional statement stated that the trucks were 11 and purchased by proceeds of ransom collected from his victims.
Parts of his confessional statement which was read in court reads: “the money I used to buy the trucks are proceeds and ransoms collected from kidnapping and the victims of the kidnap.
“I also built a house in Ghana, I have 11 trucks in my company, some are working, some are not working”.
Emmanuel also told the court that by virtue of Section 143 of the Administration of Criminal Act (ACJA), security agents are empowered to confiscate proceeds of crime, and that it was on such basis that the applicant’s 11 trucks were legally seized and that there was no time the respondents converted the trucks to their own.