Evans: Judge Hands-Off Case

SAN FRANCISCO, October 12, (THEWILL) – Justice Abdulazeez Anka of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has declined to hear a fundamental rights suit filed by suspected kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans.

Anka, who had earlier heard the case during the court’s long vacation and had adjourned until August 29 for judgment after parties argued it and adopted their addresses on August 16 said that the case file would be returned to the Administrative Judge for further directive.

Evans is seeking N300 million damages for his illegal detention but the police, through its counsel, David Igbodo, denied the lawyer, Henry Obiazi, who represented the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Nigeria Police when the case was heard saying he 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 August 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 and 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 and the case was again returned to Anka.

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 declaring that since the police had filed other applications, the earlier adjournment for judgment had become void.

Anka added that even if he had written the judgment earlier, it meant that a new one would be written explaining that the case was not adjourned for judgment but for hearing, adding that Ogungbeje’s claim that the case was for judgment was not the true position.

Ruling, he said: “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.”

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