The fundamental rights enforcement procedure suit filed by Chukwudumeme Onwamadike popular known as Evans, against the police over the seizure of his property has been struck out by a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The judge in charge of the case Justice Mojisola Olatoregun stated that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case.
She stated that suit should have been filed before a Lagos State High Court where the applicant was facing charges of kidnapping.
Recall that Evans, through his counsel, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, filed the suit in June 2018 and joined as respondents, the Inspector-General of Police, the Nigeria Police and I-G’s Intelligence Response Team.
The applicant called on the court to declare that the forceful seizure of his property by the respondents without any court order was illegal and unconstitutional.
He listed some of the property as N500 million, another N500 million, two residential houses located at Magodo, Lagos State, a Brigade wristwatch worth 20,000 dollars, necklaces worth 25,000 dollars and five pieces of diamond rings.
Also listed are one Lexus 470, a Grand Cherokee, a Toyota Highlander, 85 Samsung television sets, 45KVA generator, 22KVA generator, 20KVA inverter worth N10 million and five sets of freezers.
The applicant had sought an order compelling the respondents to unconditionally release the property.
Evans had also sought for an order from the court compelling the respondents to unconditionally unseal and vacate without delay, the two residential houses located at Magodo.
The judge noted that the respondents did not file any defence in spite of being served hearing notices.
The judge held that when confronted with a claim under the fundamental rights enforcement procedure, it would be important for the court to critically look at the reliefs sought.
According to her, the main issue to be decided is whether the plaintiff’s claim constitutes a violation of his rights under the Fundamental Human Rights Procedure, adding that the right to own property cannot be denied except for the due process of the law.
She held that the applicant failed to show that, within the circumstances of his arrest, the property were forcefully seized.
“The only conclusion I can draw is that the property was taken consequent upon his trial for kidnapping before the Lagos State High Court.
According to the judge, although federal and state high court had concurrent jurisdiction, the instant case ought to have been taken to the court where the defendant is facing trial for kidnapping.
“This court must be careful not to interfere with due process of the ongoing trial of the applicant before the Lagos State High Court.
“This court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain this case; same is hereby struck out,’’ she held.
NAN reports that other prayers sought by Evans include an order compelling the respondents to apologise to him and pay him N1 billion as damages for the alleged forceful seizure of his property.
He had also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from taking any action against him or any of his property in relation to this case.
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