Court Declares Detention Of Evan’s Brother Illegal

Court Declares Detention Of Evan’s Brother Illegal
The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday entered judgment against the Nigeria Police Force in the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by one Mr. Okwuchukwu Obiechina said to be the brother-in-law of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans.
Justice Mohammed Idris, in a judgment on Monday, declared Obiechina's arrest and detention as unconstitutional, holding that the remand order which the police claimed to have obtained from a magistrates' court to detain him 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 Obiechiana to be published in two national dailies.
Obiechina’s lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, had told the judge that his client had been detained by the police since June 2 in connection with the kidnapping case of his brother-in-law, Evans.
The lawyer contended that Obiechina’s detention without being charged to court was unconstitutional and urged the judge to order his immediate release and to award damages against the police.
But opposing Ogungbeje, counsel for the police, Mr. Emmanuel Eze, had urged the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit, saying Obiechina was detained by the police on the order of a magistrates’ court.
Eze told Justice Idris that Obiechina and his wife were arrested by the police on the reasonable suspicion that they engaged in kidnapping and murder.
He further alleged that Obiechina made attempt to truncate Evans' trial by demobilising about nine trucks that were recovered from him. 
He urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost against Obiechina.
But in his judgment on Monday, Justice Idris rejected Eze’s arguments.
The suit, marked FHC/L/CS/1050/20177, had Obiechina and his wife, Nzube, who is Evans’ sister, as plaintiffs.
The defendants were the Lagos State Commissioner of Police; the Nigeria Police Force; and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command.
Meanwhile, the move by the Lagos State Government on Monday to arraign Evans on fresh charges bordering on murder and illegal possession of firearms was frustrated as the accused raised an objection to the competence of the charges.
Evans’ lawyer, Ogungbeje, contended that his client could not be arraigned until his application challenging the competence of the charges and the court’s jurisdiction was determined one way or the other.
He said since the prosecuting team for the state just served him with their reply to the application on Monday morning on the court’s premises, he needed an adjournment to in turn reply.
By the consent of the parties, the presiding judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, adjourned till Friday, October 27, 2017, to entertain the application.
The two separate charges on which the state intended to arraign Evans and his co-defendants on Monday were separate from the one on which the defendants were re-arraigned last week before Justice Hakeem Oshodi.
But Evans, in the application he filed through his lawyer, Ogungbeje, to challenge the fresh charges, said the new charges were incompetent and should thus be quashed.
Ogungbeje, in the application, argued that the fresh charges were bad, saying they were merely a duplication of the one filed before Justice Oshodi in the Ikeja division of the Lagos State High Court.
He said, “That counts 4 and 5 constitute a gross abuse of court processes as similar charges on the same offence of kidnapping had earlier been filed by the prosecution against the same first defendant in charge numbers LD/5962C/2017 and LD/5970C/2017.”
He also challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the charges, arguing that “the first defendant has been charged with a federal offence and under a federal law by the Attorney General of Lagos State.”
He also argued that the charges did not disclose any prima facie case against his client, describing them as “duplicitous, grossly defective and an abuse of court processes.”