Tony Okafor, Awka
The Police Zonal Headquarters in Ukpo, Anambra State (Zone 13) has appealed the N10m damages judgement delivered against it by an Anambra State High Court sitting in Awka in favour of one Sunday Chukwuemeka Ekwueme (Sunny Bigman) over alleged breach of his fundamental rights.
Justice D. A Onyefulu of the State High Court, Awka had on January 10, 2023 delivered a judgement brought before him by Sunday Chukwu Ekwueme against IGP, AIG zone 13, PPRO zone 13 and his second in command over breach of fundamental rights and awarded N10m damages and N200, 000 cost in favour of the applicant.
The Judge in his judgement declared that the arrest, detention, harassment, intimidation and incarceration of the applicant (Sunday) upon his invitation to zone 13 Ukpo Anambra state between December 14 and December 28, 2022 by the respondent (police) was unlawful, unconstitutional and in breach of the Sunday’s right to dignity of human person, personal liberty and freedom of movement.
Dissatisfied with the judgement, the Zone 13 police legal team went to Court of Appeal, Awka to challenge the judgement of the lower court on the ground that the judge erred in law in his judgement and also went ahead to apply for stay of execution against the judgement.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Zone, Nkiruka Nwode while briefing newsmen on the matter said that zone had appealed the judgement to a higher court, urging the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the court below.
Nwode said the suspect was arrested by the police for the alleged offence of conspiracy, fraud and terrorism to wit; willful destructions of private properties on gun point which she said endangered human lives at Umueze Ogwogwu, Oba in Idemili South LGA of the state.
She said the suspect was detained in police custody in pursuant to court order, stressing that the suspect was arrested and charged to the Federal High Court on December 22, 2022 for the offence of advance fee fraud and terrorism.
According to the Appeal No CA/A../2023, SUIT NO. A/MISC 461/2022 ” the learned trial judge with respect erred in law when he proceeded to hear and determine motion No. A/2050M/2022 on 28th day of December 2022 and granted the applicant bail who was arrested and charged to the Federal High Court on 22/12/2022 for offence of advance fee fraud and terrorism without hearing from the respondents. The learned trial Judge breached the principles of fair hearing as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended.
Nwode added, “The learned trial Judge erred in law when it assumed jurisdiction to hear and determine the applicant’s application for enforcement of fundamental rights, who was arrested by the police and charged to Federal High Court for the offence of terrorism. The State High Court has no jurisdiction to try the offence charged under Terrorism Act 2022.
“The Judge erred in law when he refused to join the persons seeking to be joined as respondents and struck out their counter affidavit. The persons seeking to be joined as respondents were the persons who made the report of advance fee fraud and terrorism to wit; willful destructions of private properties which endangered human lives and caused economic losses and which made the respondents (police) to arrest and detained the applicant (Sunday).
“The refusal to join the persons seeking to be joined as respondents and striking out their counter affidavit breached the principles of fair hearing.”