Bizman Asks Court To Compel AGF To Prosecute Oba Elegushi, Others Over Wilful Damages

Oba Saheed Elegunshi,

A Nigeria businessman, Prince Toluwaleke Megba and his firm, Lucky Megba Ojonla Nigeria Limited, have instituted a legal action against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), seeking for an order of Mandamus, to compel the AGF to prosecute a prominent traditional ruler in Lagos State, Oba Saheed Elegushi and others following a police report  which indicted them of some alleged offences.

The police report dated July 5, 2021, filed alongside motion on notice for the order of Mandamus and cited by this medium, indicted Oba Elegushi and others of trespass, wilful destruction to properties, forceful entry conspiracy among others among other offences 

Other suspects indicted by the police report which the plaintiffs want the AGF to prosecute are; Chief Kehinde Hassan Elegushi, Mr. Wael Almansour, Karim  Almansour Contracting and Development Limited, Chinedu Nweke, all of whom the police report has established a prima facie case against. 

The plaintiff, in a motion on notice marked FHC/CS/L/21 53/2022 filed and argued by his counsel, Declan Kemdirim before Justice Kehinde Ogundare, averred that by a petition dated September 18, 2019, the applicants as victims of the actions of Oba Elegushi and others  complained to the office of the Inspector General of Police about the criminal infractions committed against their persons. 

He also stated that the petition was assigned by the Inspector-General of Police to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG Investigation) for thorough investigation and that the office of the DIG (investigation) in turn, assigned one ACP Gabriel Elaigwu to investigate the complaint/allegation 

It was further averred that after a thorough investigation a prima facie case of conspiracy, malicious damage to property, forcible entry etc was established against the suspects vide a Police  investigation report dated July 5, 2021. 

“The said investigation report was sent to the DIG Investigation who in turn forwarded it to the office of the Commissioner of Police Legal/prosecution section of the Police Headquarters for legal advice. 

“The Commissioner of Police Legal/prosecution section confirmed the indictment of the suspects through a legal advice dated February 24, 2022 and recommended the prosecution of the suspects. The said legal advice was then sent back to the DIG Investigation for consideration and further directives.” 

Declan submitted that at this point the applicants requested and with consent of the Police authorities and the case file was forwarded to the office of the AGF as the alleged offenses committed by the suspects are offences under the Criminal Code Act Cap 38 LFN 2004 and can only be prosecuted by the agents of the Federal Government. 

“They are offences created by the Law of the Federation under the Act of the National Assembly which by virtue of section 174(1)(a) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended) the Respondent, AGF  is under obligation  to prosecute.”

The plaintiffs added that the respondent for reasons unknown to them has failed refused and or neglected to prosecute the suspects, this they said runs contrary to the provisions of section 174(1) (a) of the 1999 constitution Of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) 

Consequently, the applicants asked the court to grant an order of Mandamus to compel the AGF as a public officer to perform his constitutional duty under Section 174 ( 1)(a) to prosecute the persons who have been indicted by the police for allegedly committed an offence under the criminal Code Act Cap 38 LFN 2004. 

According to the  statement of fact attached to the motion on notice, the plaintiffs said since the indictment of the suspects, they have been visited  the office of the AGF severally to know what was delaying prosecution of the suspects, but we’re told in August 2022 that the Lagos state Attorney General had requested for the case file. 

Upon receipt of the information, the applicants said they promptly wrote a protest letter against the request from the Lagos AG for the case file and urged the AGF not to grant the request but to go ahead and prosecute.

On why the applicant opposed the release of the case file to the Lagos AG, the plaintiffs said the Lagos state AG is an interested party in the matter as they have sued the suspects and the AG Lagos state  in a civil case number FHC/ L/CS/655/17 and CA/LAG/CV/193/20.

However, AGF in the notice of preliminary objection dates April 3, 2023 and filed before the court stated that it has discretionary power on who to prosecute.

The AGF also submitted in their notice of objection that the offences alleged to have been committed by the suspects are  state offences which can be prosecuted by the State Attorney General. 

Meanwhile the presiding Judge, Justice Ogundare has adjourned to May 30, to rule on the application.