Court threatens to initiate contempt proceeding against IG over police disregard to court order

CourtIGP, Mr. Mohammed Adamu

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, threatened to initiate contempt proceeding against Mohammed Adamu, Inspector General (I-G) of Police, over the failure of the Nigerian police to comply with its order.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo gave the warning following the security agency’s refusal to produce an applicant, Gabriel Iyoha, who had been in police detention since Sept. 4, in court despite an order to the effect.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Iyoha, through his lawyer, Josephine Odikpo, had, in an exparte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1143/2020 dated Sept. 10 and filed same day to enforce his fundamental rights, prayed the court for an order granting him bail.

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 The lawyer asked for, “an order for the immediate release of the applicant from detention pending the determination of the application. 

“An order for the production of the applicant before the court.

“Interim injunction restraining the respondents in taking further steps in connection with the matter.

“An interim order compelling the respondents to stay all actions in this matter pending the hearing and determination of the application.”

While I-G is the 1st respondent in this suit, commissioner of Police, Edo Command; Inspector Veronica, Irroa Police Area Command; Inspector Akpan, SCID, Benin City, and Mr Kelvin Iyere, are 2nd to 5th respondents respectively. 

When the matter was heard on Sept. 21 (Monday), Justice Taiwo ordered that Iyoha be produced in court on Sept. 24 (Thursday) by the police and that his lawyer should serve the security outfit with the enrol order and the hearing notice.

However, when the matter came up on Thursday, neither did the police produce the applicant in court nor were they represented by a lawyer despite being served with the documents.

The judge had also issued another order on Thursday, asking the police to produce Iyoha unfailingly in court on Friday.

He also directed the applicant’s lawyer to personally affect the service of the enrol order and the hearing notice.

At the hearing of the matter on Friday, the police, again, ignored the court order and failed to send representation in court either.

When the matter was called, counsel to the applicant, Odikpo, expressed concern that ever since her client was arrested on Sept. 1 in Benin and incarcerated at Asokoro Police Station, Abuja, since Sept. 4, he was yet to be charged to court.

She told Justice Taiwo that the Head of Legal Department, Force Headquarters, C.P., Emiembo Assayomo, was served with the processes the previous day.

The lawyer said Assayomo then assigned the matter to Samuel Mallum, who is the Head, Legal Unit for IGP Monitoring Team. 

Odikpo said though Mallum promised to appear in court on Friday, she was surprised that the police lawyer was not in court. 

Justice Taiwo, who adjourned the case until Sept. 29, gave the police the last chance to produce Iyoha.

“The applicant must be produced before the court unfailingly on Tuesday, Sept. 29,

“I am going to initiate a contempt proceeding against the IGP if they fail to bring him on Tuesday,” he warned.

Iyoha was said to have been arrested over an allegation by the 5th respondent (Iyere) that the applicant, who worked with him at his filling station in Edo, tampered with his records of business transaction around June 2

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