Court Restrains IGP From Arresting, Detaining Sylvester Orji Over Civil Matter

IGP Kayode Egbetokun

By Frank Oshanugor

A judge of the Onitsha High Court in Anambra State, Justice Tagbo Anieto, on September 12, 2023 granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Inspector General of Police, the DIG in-charge of Nigeria Police Force Central Investigation Department, Abiodun Alabi, and Mrs. Ebele Mogbo from “arresting, detaining or in any other way infringing on the Fundamental Rights of Chief Sylvester Afamefuna Orji, as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

Hon. Justice Anieto sitting as a vacation judge in Awka equally ordered the Nigeria Police not to compel the Applicant (Chief Sylvester Afamefuna Orji) to report to Nigeria Police Force Criminal investigation Department, Area 10, Abuja or any other place with respect to the subject matter of the suit between him and Barrister Mrs. Ebele Mogbo.

Chief Orji had through his counsel, Barrister Chris Ajugwe challenged in the court, an invitation of the Police for his client to report to Abuja over the petition of the 1st Respondent Barrister Mrs. Ebele Mogbo to the police or otherwise be arrested in Onitsha and bundled to Abuja.

The Applicant’s counsel had contended that the subject matter of the case is the landed property at No. 54 Moore Street, Onitsha which Mrs. Mogbo sold to his client for N41million and had promised to execute title documents including Deed of Assignment and Irrevocable Power of Attorney in favour of his client Chief Orji but later declined despite several demands.

According to court documents, when Mrs. Mogbo boasted and threatened to deal with the Applicant with her gods and security agencies, if Orji continued to disturb her peace over the land again, Chief Orji had joined issues with her, to the extent of having a date to answer before ARUSI, the deity of Okija.

Quoting Section 32(2) of Nigerian Police Force Establishment Act 2020 which provides that:
“A person shall not be arrested merely on civil wrong or breach of contract” Barr. Ajugwe argued that, “the land transaction between the parties, Chief Sylvester Afamefuna Orji Vs. Mrs. Ebele Mogbo was a contract transaction pertaining land while the altercation between them were merely civil wrong which remedy might at best be an action in tort”.

Arguing that Mrs. Mogbo by passed Fegge Police Station, Onitsha Area Command, Anambra State Police Command Awka and

AIG, Zone 13, of Nigeria Police Force Ukpo, to go to Abuja to make a complaint over land and shrine in Anambra State, Ajugwe urged the court to grant his client’s application.

Agreeing with the learned counsel for Chief Orji, the court further held that:
“By Section 44 of the Police Act, it is the duty of the Police such as the 2nd -4th Respondents to prevent and detect crimes, apprehend offender, preserve law and order, protect life and property and enforce all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged. This important duty is very much required for an ordered society but it is wrong to write petition or make complaint to the police formations in Abuja over an issue that is in Anambra State. “It is most inappropriate and it is a show of power by the 1st Respondent ostensibly to intimidate the Applicant.

“I condemn in the strongest of terms the practice of making petitions to the Police in Abuja over issues arising from the State. This abhorrent practice is prevalent in Anambra State where persons usually seek to boost their egos by making complaints at the police formations in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria over issues which can be easily and speedily resolved in Anambra State. This very shameful practice is condemned and the Police hierarchy is warned and ordered to stop encouraging this practice”.

The court awarded N1million in favour of Chief Orji as against Barrister Mrs. Ebele Mogbo.

Written by: Frank Oshanugor

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