The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, Deputy Inspector-General, Deputy Insepector-General of Police, Joseph Egbunike and other top police officers may be committed to prison following an alleged disobedience Federal High Court, Enugu’s order.
The Federal High Court presided over Justice I.N Buba, had July 1, 2021, directed the first to third respondents (IGP ,DIG and Inspector Thomas Amonke) to stay all actions and release some applicants forthwith, having been granted bail by the court.
It was gathered that in spite the service of the court order directing the police to release the applicants having been granted bail, the D.I.G Joseph O. Egbunike in flagrant disobedience of the order refused to release the applicants on bail nor stay further action on the matter.
Trouble reportedly started when the news of police invitation to the admin of an Enugu Political Arena WhatsApp Platform, Comrade Francis Akpa and other participants emerged.
On getting to the police station, the admin was confronted with a petition written by one Mr. Ifeanyi Ossai, alleging character assassination among others.
Report says shortly after the news, one of the participants Joshua Ogbonna was arrested by police officers from Anti Kidnapping Squad but was granted bail after being detained for about two days.
The applicants thereafter presented themselves for investigation, reportedly appeared whenever invited throughout the period of investigation, yet Mr. Ifeanyi Ossai was not satisfied hence applied for transfer of the case to Abuja.
They were consequently invited to Abuja and on obeying invitation by the DIG, the people were allegedly detained in Abuja in spite being granted bail earlier.
Speaking, counsel to the plaintiffs, Valentine Umeha, Esq., said the applicants, Akpa Francis, Obinna Mamah and Joshua Ogbonna through their team of lawyers seek to enforce their fundamental rights to life, liberty and dignity via the notice of application filed on June 30, 2021 in Suit No. FHC/EN/CS/96/2021.
“In line with Order IV of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules, 2009, the applicants also filed a motion exparte praying for bail and interim order directing the Police to stay all actions relating to and/or connected with the complaints of the applicants.
“Following the grant of the motion exparte, the bailiff of the court armed with the duly drawn order and other originating processes, proceeded to FCID Enugu Annex office of the first to third respondents, being the address endorsed for service of the processes on the said respondents,” he said.
He explained that after placing calls on the D.I.G Joseph O. Egbunike, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the FCID Annex Enugu, Mr. Kasumu refused to accept service of the court order and accompanying processes.
“The bailiff of court in adherence to the rules of service of court processes, dropped the court order and the processes in the office of the police officer but he instructed his men to lock the bailiff and the applicants’ lawyers in the police premises insisting that the bailiff and the lawyers can only be allowed to go if he takes back the court order together with other processes.
“Being constrained and in grave danger, the helpless bailiff picked up the processes and left with the applicants lawyers who acted as pointer to the bailiff.
“Notwithstanding the above, the bailiff proceeded to Abuja and on July 2, 2021, he effected personal service of the order of court and the originating processes on the above named police officers who are the first to third respondents in the suit pending in court,” he said.
Upon reporting to the court, the refusal of the D.I.G Joseph O. Egbunike to release the applicants as directed, the court on July 7, 2021, ordered the officer incharge of Police Legal Department State CID Enugu to appear before it to explain why the Police will disobey the order.”
Also, the applicants through their lawyers have initiated committal proceedings against D.I.G Joseph O. Egbunike, IGP and Thomas Amonke by filing in court Form 48 which has been served on the officers.