A Federal High Court Judge in Awka, Anambra State, Justice I.N Uwaigbo, has condemned the action of 12 policemen who jumped across the fence of a lawyer’s family compound in Umunze to effect service.
In his ruling on Wednesday on a fundamental right matter brought before him by Onyeakpa, Justice Uwaigbo said it was condemnable for 12 policemen to scale the wall of the lawyer’s compound at about 1am to effect service.
He said, “How can 12 police men scale the wall of somebody to effect service by 1am? If the act was for arrest, it would have been a different thing. But for 12 policemen to scale the wall of somebody just to effect service is condemnable and I hereby condemn it.”
The court, however, dismissed Onyeakpa’s application for lacking the attributes of a fundamental rights matter.
Onyeakpa had approached the court to stop the police from infringing on his privacy and further harassment.
The lawyer said his offence was that he was handling a land matter for his Umuicheke community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Onyeakpa had through his lawyer, Mr. Zokas Aniazoka, asked the court to stop the police from harassing and intimidating him.
Aniazoka said, “The police were armed with dangerous weapons with the intention of killing my client and not arrest as they claim.”
He submitted that no law permitted the police to scale anybody’s wall at such an odd hour for arrest.
But the police, through their counsel, Mr. Ndubuisi Onwuka, said they had the right to invite any suspect for interrogation upon reasonable suspicion.
He said upon the report of a murder case against the applicant, the police took steps to invite the applicant and others for interrogation.
The police lawyer noted that the applicant evaded police invitation, fled and went into hiding.
He urged the court to dismiss the applicant’s application for lack of merit.
In his further submission, the applicant’s counsel, Aniazoka, agreed that the police had a duty to invite any suspect for interrogation but not in the circumstance under review.
In his ruling, Justice Uwaigbo, agreed with the police that upon reasonable suspicion the police could invite anybody for interrogation.
He ruled that such action was not a violation of any fundamental right.
He dismissed Onyeakpa’s application with a cost of N30, 000.
Reacting, the counsel to the applicant said his client would appeal the judgement adding that the court blew hot and cold at the same time.