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​​Why Court Failed to Deliver Judgment in ‘Evans’ Fundamental Rights Enforcement Suit

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday adjourned till September 5, the suit seeking for the fundamental rights enforcement of alleged billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known an Evans.

The suspected kidnapper, through a Lagos lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, is praying the court to order his unconditional release from detention or charge him.

He is also claiming N300m as damages for illegal detention and rights violation.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka had adjourned till Tuesday for judgment after parties argued the case and adopted their addresses on August 16.

But the Police on Tuesday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that it did not authorise any lawyer to represent it in the case.

At the resumed hearing Tuesday, when judgment was supposed to be delivered, police counsel, David Igbodo, said he filed a fresh application in which the police claimed it was not given a fair hearing.

He said the lawyer, Henry Obiazi, who earlier argued the case on behalf of the police, was not instructed to represent the IGP or the police.

In the pending application which was filed on August 21, the police is praying the court to set aside all the “purported” arguments made by Obiazi in the case.

The Force is also praying the court to set aside the ruling delivered by Justice Anka on August 16 in which he adjourned for judgment.

Igbodo said the judge adjourned the case without hearing from the first and second respondents, claiming they were not served with the suit.

Among the prayers in the application is an order granting leave to the IGP and the police to file their counter-affidavits to the suit and for the court to consider their responses duly filed and served.

“We believe my Lord understands the principle of fair hearing. We are ready to move the application,” he said.

But, Ogungbeje urged the Judge to go ahead and deliver the judgment.

He said the application was a bid by the police to stall the verdict and should, therefore, be refused.

“We have not been served with that application. On the 16th of August 2017, arguments were taken from all parties and your Lordship graciously reserved today (Tuesday) for judgment.

“It is our strong view that this application is calculated to arrest the judgment. The assertion that we refused service of the fresh application cannot be true when judgment has already been reserved,” he said.

Justice Anka said he could not go on with the judgment in the face of the fresh application.

He adjourned till September 5 for argument on the police’s new application.

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