FHC Directs Service Of Court Order On IGP, Others Over ‘Contempt’
Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court Abuja on Monday directed that the order he made on November 5 be served on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and four others.
The court had on November 5, 2021, ordered the IGP, the AGF, Joseph Egbunike and Deputy Inspector General of Police (Force Criminal Investigation Department), Abuja to immediately release Jude Osuhor and Happiness Chekube Edifie who had been detained at the FCID, Abuja since October 4.
Justice Ekwo’s order of Monday was informed by the complaint by Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), lawyer to Jude Osuhor and Happiness Efifie, who sounded so bitter about the predicament of his clients.
He was bitter that the IGP and other respondents in the fundamental rights enforcement suits by his clients had been served with the November 5 order of the Court but they have allegedly refused to obey it.
According to him, although the case was adjourned for hearing, the respondents refused to obey the order of the Court and are also not in court.
He said, “The order of this court was served on the respondents since November 5, the IGP has refused to release them. We have applied for Form 48. I don’t know why the IGP and DIG, would turn themselves into executive sabotage of court order.
“I want to apply for the court to order the IGP to come here and show cause why he should not be sent to prison for disobeying court order.”
Delivering his ruling, Justice Ekwo said he would rather give the respondents the opportunity to obey the order of the Court and come to defend the case pending against them.
“I am minded to make an order to give the respondents ample time to comply with the Court order and to enable them appear in court to defend the pending cases.”
He then ordered the court’s Deputy Registrar (Litigation) to bring to the notice of the respondents the pendency of the suits and “the order of this court made on November 5.”
The judge then adjourned till December 8 for hearing.
In the two suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1289/2021 and FHC/ABJ/CS/1290/2021, the applicants were challenging their continued detention by the respondents over their alleged complicity in the death of Osuhor’ wife, Vivian.
Listed as respondents in both cases are: the IGP, the Nigeria Police Force, DIG Joseph Egbunike, Ms Loveth Edifie, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (FCID), Abuja, and the AGF were listed as defendants.
Jude Osuhor and Happiness Efifie were arrested in Lagos on October 2, 2021, by operatives of the NPF from the FCID in Abuja.
Happiness, the immediate younger sister of the deceased had lived with her late sister and her husband for years in their Lagos home.
According to court documents, Jude and Happiness were transferred from Lagos to Abuja on October 4 and were initially granted bail on October 5, 2021.
They returned to Lagos after administrative bail granted them by the police, but were re-invited some days later by DIG Joseph Egbunike of FCID, Abuja on October 15, and have since then been held in police custody in Abuja.