A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has dismissed the fundamental rights application filed by Registered Trustees of World Evangelism Incorporated alongside Prophet Samson Ayorinde and Rev. Harold Chinoyerem, seeking to restrain the Nigeria Police from arresting them over the issuance of N118 million dud cheque.
Delivering his judgement, Justice Yetunde Adesanya held that the police cannot be restrained from inviting, arresting and detaining the applicant in the course of investigation. The judge held that restraining the law enforcement agents from arresting a person alleged to have committed an offence amount to abuse of judicial power.
Ayorinde and other applicants had instituted a fundamental rights suit marked D/6724MFHR/2018 before the court seeking a declaration that their harassment, intimidation, threat of arrest, detention and invitation by the police at the instance of some people was violation of the fundamental rights to personal liberty as guaranteed under section 34 and 35 of Nigeria constitution.
Applicants instituted the suit through their lawyer, Emmanuel B. Benjamin, against Mr. Oludare Amos Aturamu, Mrs. Kemi Adesanya, Smart Link Property Services, Commissioner of Police, Lagos, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in-charge of State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID), Panti, Lagos, and officer-charge of Assistant Commissioner Section, and SP Alhaji Aminu of SCIID, Panti, Lagos as first to seventh respondents respectively
They also sought an order asking the court to restrain the police, their agents, privies, servants from inviting, arresting, detaining, harassing and molesting or any manner infringing on their rights and an order restraining the police from publishing their names in any police bulletin or any medium for the purpose of declaring them wanted.
The applicants also prayed the court to order the police to pay them the sum of N4 million, as compensation for breach of their fundamental rights
However, the police in an affidavit filed before the court, urged the court to dismiss the suit. Counsel to the Police, Mr. Samsideen Adebesin averred in the affidavit that police received a petition from Aturamu, Adesanya and Smart Link Services, wherein they alleged that Ayorinde obtained a loan of N30 million from them sometime in August 2016 for the expansion of his church, with the promise that the loan will be refunded within two months with interest rate of 30 percent.
The police added that in the petition, the petitioners alleged that not quite long after the loan was granted to Ayorinde that he travelled out for medical vacation to attend to his health, only to come back to the country in July 2017, adding that when Ayorinde could not repay the loan, the interest rate was reduced to 22.5 percent as a mark of good gesture.
The police also stated that Ayorinde was being investigated on a criminal complaint of issuance of dud cheques and upon receiving the complaint, Ayorinde did not present himself to the police. But sometimes in August 2017, he volunteered a statement in reaction to the allegation against him and he was granted administrative bail.
However, contrary to applicant claimed the judge held that, “on the totality of the foregoing that there has been no harassment, intimidation, threat of arrest or detention of the applicants. I must also hold that the police cannot be restrained from inviting arresting (where necessary) and detained the 1st and 3rd applicant in the in the course of its investigation as prescribed by lAw.
“On the allegation of harassment and threat of arrest, it was Alleged by the respondent that 3rd applicant failed to report to the police contrary to the condition of his bail bond and that 2nd applicant never in fact reported to the police formation which prompted the 1st to 3rd respondent to write exhibit J dated November 2017 requesting the police to declare him 2nd (Ayorinde) wanted because of his he refusal to honour five police invitation issuance of warrants of arrest etc. It is observed that exhibit B attached to 4th respondent counter affidavit is a copy if statement made by 2nd applicant Prophet Dr Samson Ayorinde to the police formation.
“It should be reasonable assumed that police are now in custody of all the relevant documents which have been exhibited in this application and which required for its investigation the police should therefore hasten its investigation on the criminal complaint of 1st -3rd respondent and bring it to a close, if it has not already done so.”
The court therefore warned the police not to publish his name on any police bulletin or any medium for purpose of declaring them a wanted person.
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