By Innocent Anaba, Abdulwahab Abdulah, & Prince Okafor
•Wants Police barred from arresting, inviting, or detaining him
•Lawyers split as bizman urges Police to ensure he doesn’t return
LAGOS — Kidnap kingpin, Ch ukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a. Evans, has for the second day, sued the Inspector General of Police, and three others before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, claiming N300million as damages over his alleged illegal detention.
This came as Police authorities re-emphasised that they had obtained an order from a Federal High Court in Abuja to hold onto him for three months, to allow them conclude investigations into several cases of kidnapping, robberies and murder against the suspect.
Meanwhile, Evans in the new motion filed yesterday, is claiming the sum of N300 million as general and exemplary damages against the Police for alleged illegal detention and unconstitutional media trial.
Respondents in his new motion are the Nigeria Police Force, Commissioner of Police Lagos State, and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command.
It will be recalled that Evans had on June 28, filed an ex-parte application numbered FHC/L/CS/1012/2017, before the same court, seeking an order directing the respondents to charge him to court.
He had also in the alternative, sought an order directing the respondents to release him unconditionally where no charge was preferred against him.
In an affidavit deposed to by his father, Mr Stephen Onwuamadike, he averred that the applicant had been subjected to media trial without any court order by the respondents.
Onwuamadike further averred that the media trial orchestrated by the respondents have continued to generate reactions in both print and electronic media without his son being afforded fair hearing before a court of law.
Continued detention violates my rights — Evans
Evans had contended that his continued detention by the respondents since June 10, without charges, or release on bail is an infringement on his fundamental rights.
In his new suit, also marked FHC/L/CS/1012/ 2017 and bearing similar respondents, the applicant is seeking a declaration that his continued detention since June 10 without arraignment, violates his fundamental rights as guaranteed under the 1999 constitution.
He is also seeking a declaration that his parade on June 11 before journalists in Lagos, at the Lagos police command headquarters in Ikeja, without any court order, is unconstitutional and illegal.
He is consequently, seeking an order, compelling the respondents to immediately arraign him before a law court, or release him from custody forthwith.
Evans is also seeking an order compelling the respondents to jointly and severally pay him the sum of N300 million as exemplary damages for illegal detention and alleged harm caused by media trial.
He is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further arresting, detaining, harassing, investigating or inviting him in relation to the facts of his case.
He seeks further orders as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances. No hearing date has also been fixed for his latest suit.
However, reactions have continued to trail the suits, particularly the fresh one by Evans, with lawyers differing on the suit.
He’s entitled to reliefs under the law — Fashanu, SAN
Mr Babatunde Fashanu, SAN, in his reaction, said: “The man is entitled to the reliefs he is seeking from the court. The constitution is clear on this. He is either charged to court or released on bail. If they don’t charge him to court, one can presume that all these allegations are not true. So, let them prefer a charge against him.
“If I am the judge, and you have been holding somebody for more than four weeks without a charge, it is important to grant him his liberty and let them come when they have concluded investigation. That is the position of the law, rather than media trial.”
No issue if lawyer represents Evans, says NBA chief
Mr. Monday Ubani, 2nd Vice President of NBA, said “There is nothing wrong for a lawyer to represent the suspect if he is properly briefed. However, if he was not briefed and decided to jump into the case pro bono, that will be a breach of the code of legal practice ethics.
‘’If any lawyer breaches any of the professional ethics, it is punishable under our law. However, considering the decision to approach the court, the probability of such motion or case to sail through depends on the reliefs sought before the court. The court is at liberty to decide otherwise.”
‘Welfare of society more important’
Another Lagos lawyer, Ademola Ijaoba, said “The case of Evans is the prevailing issue in society now. For me, if such matter came before (a) right-thinking judge, the judge should be more mindful of the cost of such case on the society than the fundamental rights of an individual. The judge has to balance between strict adherences to the right of the party and the health of the society. At this time, the good and sanity of the society is far above any pecuniary interest of an individual.
“Secondly, if you consider the allegations or the likely offences that may be brought against the man, like robbery, possession of firearms, kidnapping etc, these are offences that can attract capital punishment. I believe that no court will grant him bail based on those allegations. I read this morning (yesterday) that the Police have secured an order of court to remand him for three months to conduct their investigations. That is the way it should be.”
Make sure he doesn’t return — Bizman
Also reacting to Evans’ claims, Chairman/CEO of Daforis Ventures, said: “Evans, a hardened criminal who detained his victims in locally-made leg chains for months without mercy until his ransom is paid, is now complaining of long detention by the Police force.
“This is not the first time he will be apprehended and freed and started worse levels of crime.
“After the escaped Dunu, his victim at New Igando, and Police bust the place and took all their guns away, he said he immediately calmed down his boys, told them not to worry, that he had called the creeks and arranged another set of ammunition for a new operation to be carried out again.
“So my people in authority, please do everything possible so that this notorious, hardened criminal never returns to the society alive, otherwise Nigerians are not safe.”
Police not stupid, says security expert
Reacting, Detective, General Investigation and Intelligence gathering expert, Sanni Habeeb, said: “The NPF is not that stupid to have detained a notorious kidnapper of his type without getting an order from a competent court of law to keep him more than a month.
“He will remain in Police custody till his accomplices are all arrested. The suit will be quashed soon, watch out.”
Let Police do their work — Lagosian
Similarly, Banddy Babs, who works at Dana Drugs Limited, said: “We forget things easily in Nigeria. Can you imagine a man (Evans) that put in his custody innocent people for over six months, fighting for fundamental human rights for just two weeks in detention?
“The father is also lamenting to the world that the police won’t allow him access to his son. When his son kidnapped other people’s sons, fathers, mothers, brothers, did he allow them to see the persons he kidnapped?
“Because the law said 48 hours does not mean such a man with past record of arrest for armed robbery, that was later freed should be taken for granted.
“Thank God the detention order is coming from a Federal High Court, Abuja. Let us allow the Police to finish their work, it took them four years looking for Evans, and risked their life for you and me.
Police reiterates court order to hold onto Evans
Forces spokesman, Mr Jimoh Moshood, while reiterating an earlier statement by the police to the suit, said “Evans’ gang members who wanted him to go to court before Police will finish investigations that have been leading to their exposure and arrests, hired a lawyer who sued Lagos State Commissioner of Police and OC SARS Lagos.
“They’re insisting that Evans should be charged to court. Unknown to them, the Federal High Court last week Thursday gave order for Evans and his gang members to be remanded in Police custody for three months.
“This is to enable the Police conclude all investigations in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, so that all involved will be brought to book. Many thanks for your continuous support.”
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