Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Court Fines ‘Captain’ N600k Over Frivolous Suit Against Police

Court Fines ‘Captain’ N600K Over Frivolous Suit Against Police

Justice (Mrs.) Serifat I. Sonaike of a Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) High Court of Lagos State, on Thursday, ordered a man, Captain Charles Obadiaru, to pay a total sum of N600, 000, to the men of Nigeria Police, for filling frivolous fundamental rights enforcement suit against them.

Apart from paying N600, 000 to the police, Justice Sonaike also dismissed the ‘Captain’ suit for been frivolous and lacking in merit.

Those joined as respondents in the suit marked LD/12064/MFHR/2021 are: Mr. Felix Chucks Okoye; The Deputy Commissioner of Police, SCID Panti-Yaba, Lagos; The AIG Force Headquarters Annex, Alagbon, Lagos and Lagos State Commissioner of Police, as first to fourth respondents in the suit. 

The applicant had approached the court through a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed and argued by his lawyer, Onyenemerem Ekezie asking for a declaration that the transaction between him and  Mr. Felix Chucks Okoye was purely a civil transaction and has no element of crimality to involve interference of the police.

He also asked the court to declare that the agreement purportedly extracted from him to the behest of the second respondent and investigated by the AIG, Force Headquarters Annex, Alagbon, Lagos, is Null, void and of no consequence. And a declaration that the cheques issued at the instance of Mr. Okoye in furtherance to the illegality on the second respondent on him is null and void. And a declaration that the agreement purportedly extracted from him at the behest of the second respondent is null, void and of no Consequence. 

He also sought for an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the respondents whether by themselves, agents, privies or servant from further hurting, harassing, embarrassing and/or infringing on his rights, as enshrined under chapter IV of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) under whatever guise, ground or pretext. 

Furthermore, the applicant begged the court for a cost of N500, 000, against all the Respondents as cost of instituting the suit.

However, the police urged the court to dismiss the suit with punitive cost for been frivolous and lacking in merit.

The Police in a counter-affidavit deposed to Mr.  Liman Salisu, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) one of the investigators that investigated the matter and filed and argued by Barrister Morufu Animashaun, a Legal Officer at the Alagbon-Ikoyi’s annex of Force Criminal Investigation Department.

In the affidavit, the deponet averred that police that a petition dated April 24, 2021 was written on behalf of One Capt. Charles Obadiaru, the applicant, by John Olowo Esq of Grace & Samuel Chambers on criminal allegations of threat to life, conspiracy and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace against one Mr. Felix Chuks Okoye, the first Respondent. 

The deponet stated that upon the receipt of the petition from the applicant, the applicant also made written statement and the first respondent was equally invited to state his own side against the criminal allegations made against him. 

He stated that in the course of investigation that if was found out that the first Respondent did not threaten the life of the applicant neither did he conspire with any person to commit a crime. But it was the applicant that collected a sum of N51 from the first Respondent under the pretenses of selling land to him. 

He stated further that it was discovered that applicant collected the sum of N51  million naira out of N90 million under false pretenses and purportedly to be purchase price for selling land to the 1st respondent in Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State. And that the document of title supplied by the applicant were confirmed at Land’s bureau, Alausa but the land given to the first respondent were different from that contained in the document of title 
He stated that investigations further reveal that the applicant had fraudulently diverted the money into another venture and thereafter became violent and threatened to deal with the first respondent if he dares ever ask for a refund of the N51 million 

He stated that the applicant having collected part payment of the sum of N51 million out of the total sum of N90 million, became evasive and even when first respondent demanded for a refund of the money, that applicant had already diverted the Money into another venture. 

He further stated that, when the applicant could not make refund, he issued cheques in part payment of the money to the first Respondent without any coercion, pressure, intimidation nor influence nor promise of whatever form from the police. The undertaking was reached between the applicant and first respondent without any input from the police. He added that investigation however revealed that when the first Respondent presented the Cheques for payment, the cheques were dishonored on ground of insufficiency of funds

The deponet categorically stated that the applicant was never arrested nor detained as the applicant was in fact the petitioner who wrote petition against first respondent and it was investigation that revealed that it was the applicant that defrauded the first respondent. Adding that even with such findings that it was the applicant that defrauded the first Respondent, the applicant was never arrested nor detained by the Police neither was the applicant subjected to any degrading or inhumane treatment but was treated with civility and accorded all fair treatments.

He stated further that on May 25, 2021 when applicant came to the Station to make statement in support of his petition, he was accorded civility and on July 8, 2021 when both the applicant and first respondent voluntarily reached an undertaking for the repayment of the sum of N51 million fraudulently collected, both were treated with civility and accofded fair treatments, 

The deponet stated that he knew as a fact that the applicant has criminal allegations of conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent conversion of the sum of N51 million, by way of stealing and issuance of dud Cheques pending against him. Added that on November 10, 2021, at ForceCID’s Legal Section, Ikoyi, Lagos, he was informed by Animashaun, M.A. Esq. of Counsel and he verily believe him; that the respondent has power to receive petition from members of the public on criminal complaints and to investigate same. And that at the time applicant collected N51 million from the first respondent under pretence of sale of land, the act was fraudulent and criminal in nature as the applicant knew he had no valid title over the land and having collected the money, applicant diverted the sum to another venture without refund of same to first respondent. 

The deponet stated that it is in the interest of justice and due process to dismiss the suit by refusing all the reliefs sought as applicant’s fundamental rights had not been breached nor threatened by the respondents.