A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court has fixed September 5 to hear arguments from counsel on why he should not deliver judgment on the fundamental rights application filed by Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans.
Justice Abdulaziz Anka had earlier fixed today, August 29, for judgment but said he would not deliver judgment because there are pending applications before him. The judgment date was adjourned after the police brought applications seeking to set aside the delivering of the judgment, Premium Times reports.
“The question is, can I still go ahead when there are still motions before me and the fact that the applicant refused service?” Mr. Anka asked. “I’ve read the case file, I’ve seen the processes attached inclusive of a court order.”
Alleged kidnapper Evans won the first round of his court battle as the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos dismissed the objections of the Lagos state Police Commissioner and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on August 16 and ruled that the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Evans can proceed.
The judge had adjourned on August 16 to deliver a judgment on the fundamental rights application filed by “Evans” Onwuamadike. The first and second respondents, the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force, did not send a legal representative throughout the hearing. But the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the third and fourth respondents, were represented by lawyers who argued that their colleagues were not served the court process.
On Tuesday, David Igbodo, a lawyer, announced appearance for the first and second respondents, saying they did not receive any court process in Abuja. He said they had filed a motion before the judge making five applications, including an order seeking to set aside the ruling on August 16 as well as the adjournment for judgment without hearing his clients.
Mr. Igbodo, a Commissioner of Police (Legal) also said the police was seeking an order to set aside the purported application and submission made by Henry Obiazi without authority, and an order granting leave to the first and second respondents to file their counter affidavits.
Mr. Igbodo said: “Parties have been served though the applicant, I was told, refused to accept service. The application is before your lordship, it’s our belief that this court is a court of justice.”
Evans’ lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, in his response said he never received any application from the police, insisting that the last adjournment had been for judgment and not to entertain fresh applications.
“It is our strong view to the learned counsel to the first and second respondents that his application is calculated to arrest the judgment of the court,” said Mr. Ogungbeje.
Premium Times report that after the judge said he would be unable to go ahead with the judgment until the pending applications before him are heard, the lawyers from both sides could not agree on the next date for adjournment. Mr. Igbodo said he would be traveling to China on official assignment next week and requested for a date in the last week of September.
“This matter is very important to the IG (Inspector General). Before that 25th (of September, the applicant will be charged to court,” Mr. Igbodo added.
But Mr. Ogungbeje disagreed, insisting that his client needs to know his fate as soon as possible.
The judge stood down the matter for both parties to agree on a date, and later adjourned to September 5 to hear arguments.