Justice Abdulazeez Anka of the Federal High Court, Lagos has declined to hear the N300 million fundamental rights suit filed by suspected millionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly called Evans.
According to the suspect’s lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, he alleged that the fund was for damages for his illegal detention by the law enforcement agency.
Anka, who had heard the case weeks ago, in his ruling on Wednesday, said that the case file would be returned to Administrative Judge for further directive because events had overtaken some allegations raised by Evans.
“The case was made for hearing of the motion of first and second respondents. The court shall therefore cause a letter to be written to the Administrative Judge to explain the true position of the case, which is for further hearing and not judgment.
“Parties shall therefore await the decision of the Admin Judge, either to re-assign the case or for this court to maintain the case in its cause list,” he added.
Before the judgement, Anka had earlier heard the case during the court’s long vacation and had adjourned until two months for judgment after parties argued it and adopted their earlier addresses.
But the police through its counsel, David Igbodo, said another lawyer, Henry Obiazi, who represented the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Nigeria Police when the case was heard did so without authorisation.
The police prayed the court to set aside all the purported arguments made by Obiazi and to set aside the ruling it delivered on Aug. 16 in which he adjourned for judgment.
When the case came up before another judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor, during the long vacation, he held that the case was no longer urgent.
Obizor, then returned the file to the Chief Judge, Justice Adamu Kafarati for re-assignment to another judge. The case was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Babs Kuewemi.
However, Evans’ lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, wrote the chief judge informing him that Anka had already adjourned the case for judgment.
Based on the letter, the case was again returned to Anka. And when the case came up before Anka on Wednesday, he expressed displeasure that the case was returned to him when the issue of judgment had been overtaken by events.
The judge said that since the police had filed other applications, the earlier adjournment for judgment had become void, adding, even if he had written the judgment earlier, it meant that a new one would need to be written.
Police Counsel, Chukwu Agwu, accused Ogungbeje of allegedly smuggling the case file back to Anka’s court.
Agwu said: “The case was re-assigned to Justice Kuewumi. How my learned colleague smuggled this case to this court is baffling. He did not avail us with a copy of his letter to the chief judge, otherwise we would have reacted.”
But Ogungbeje said his letter was on the premise that since a judgment had already been fixed, it could be delivered by Anka after entertaining the late applications filed by the police.
Meanwhile, Anka held that it was not factual to say that judgement had been reserved when the court was obliged to hear the fresh applications by the police and that the case was not adjourned for judgment but for hearing, adding that Ogungbeje’s claim that the case was for judgment was false.