Acting IGP Usman Baba

By Tricia Ikem

A Lagos High Court, Yaba, Justice Sule-Amzat .O will on March 15, 2023 deliver judgment in a fundamental rights suit brought against the Inspector General of Police, a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos, AIG Marvelous Akpoyibo (retired), over the July 21, 2001 killing of four youths from Ekwulobia, Anambra state, in Lagos.

Others involved in the suit were the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Attorney-General of Lagos State, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and Divisional Police Officer, Aguda..

The youths, Anthony Ezenwafor, Chukwuemeka Ezeofor, Izuchukwu Ezeama, and Aloysius Osigwe were traders at the Ladipo market before they were extra-judicially killed by the police attached to Agada, Surulere Division.

The N4 billion suit was filed by a human right activist, Mr. Akaraka Chinwe Ezeonara, Chris Okpara; Remigus Ezenwane and Ifeanyi Okoye, on March 27, 2014.

At the resumed hearing of the case recently the judge fixed the date after the counsel to the Attorney General of Lagos State, Adewale Russell informed the court that the 3rd Respondent had filed and submitted a counter affidavit in opposition to the applicant’s originating summon, arguing that the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP is yet to receive a case file from the police in respect of the case.

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the case against the 3rd respondent.

Counsel to the applicant, Modupe Omo-Ekpadi from Falana and Falana Chambers also informed the court that all other respondents have been served the hearing notice, but they failed to appear before the court.

The judge had sometime in June ordered that hearing notice be issue to the Nigerian Police and others in the suit before fixing September 27 for hearing, but the matter could not go on due to new legal year activities.

Following the absence of all the respondents counsel in court, Justice Sule- Amzat, also ordered that a definite hearing notice be issued to them and subsequently adjourned to October 31, 2022.

It would be recalled that the case file was returned from the Court of Appeal for High Court to hear the suit.

The appellate court had ordered in a judgment that the High Court should hear the suit following the earlier dismissal of the suit by Justice Oyindamola Ogala.

Justice Ogala, in a ruling dismissed the application, she said that the right to life of the deceased person could not have been commenced by the applicants on behalf of the deceased persons.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, applicants through their counsel, Mrs. Funmi Falana filed an appeal.

The Court of Appeal in a judgment note that, it is clear that the action before the lower court was properly brought based on their Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules because it was brought by an association for the purpose of enforcing the right of its members that had been breached. It directed that the file should be returned to the High Court and that the lower court should decide on its merit.

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