The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to appear before it on January 31 to show cause why five workers of The Daily Times Newspapers that were arrested on January 19, 2018 at Lagos Daily Times office should not be released.
The detained workers: Tinuola Ashiru, (Assistant Manager, Human Resources); Ayodele Ibitoye (Accountant); Afolabi Adeboye (Graphics Designer); Marvelous Eyoh Effiong (Graphics Designer) and James Akingbade Olagoke (Advert Officer) had filed a N200m fundamental human rights suit against IGP, whose men carried out the arrest and moved them from Lagos to Abuja on the prompting of Senator Ikechukwu Obiora.
In a brief ruling Thursday after listening to Uche Amulu who moved an ex-parte application on behalf of the detainees, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba said he “is not minded to granting an order for their release. ”
However, “the defendants is ordered to show cause why the order being sought for the release of the applicants should not be granted.”
He further directed that the defendants should be served with the order , the processes and hearing notice and adjourned the matter to January 31, 2018 for hearing.
While moving the application, Amulu had said the ex-parte motion was brought pursuance to Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ( as amended) , order 4 rule 3 of the Federal High Court Rules and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The motion prayed the court for immediate release of the five applicants and for a restraining order on the IGP and police from further arrest.
In the substantive suit marked No.FHC/ABJ/CS/70/18 filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja that is now before Justice Dimgba, the plaintiffs are demanding for N200m as general damages for their unlawful and incarceration.
The fundamental enforcement suit was brought pursuant to Order 11, Rule 1, 2 and 3 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rule, 2009. The DTN workers are asking the court to take a judicial notice of the fact that their fundamental rights to freedom, liberty and dignity to life have been grossly violated by the Police, acting at the prompting of Senator Obiora, to detain them for seven days without any court order.
The plaintiffs are also seeking for an order of the court to declare that the invasion of DTN in Agidingbi, Lagos, man-handling, arrest, bungling and their detention by officers of the IGP upon the overt procurement and sponsorship of Senator Obiora without any warrant or order of court constitutes a reckless infringement of their fundamental rights as guaranteed and protected by sections 35(1), (4) and (5), 34(1)(a) and 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Besides, the DTN workers are asking the court to hold that they are entitled to their rights to dignity and human person, personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of movement, private and family life.
The plaintiffs also want the court to declare as wanton, illegal and unknown to law the actions of the IGP’s officers upon the overt sponsorship and procurement of Senator Obiora on Friday, January 19, 2018 when riot police policemen of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Scorpion Division, Ikeja, Lagos State, without a warrant or an order of court, raided the office of the DTN at Agidingbi, Ikeja, beat them up, arrested them and bundled them into their Hillux van and took them away to unknown destination.