The Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, have been petitioned over alleged disobedience to a valid court order by the officers and men of the Intelligence Response Team Unit, IRT, Nigeria Police Force.
The petitioners are two legal practitioners, Samuel C Noah and Ugwemogak Fingesi.
They warned that the Police could not continue to disobey court orders.
A similar petition was written to the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.
The said they had approached the court with the process of commencement of application for committal for contempt against officers of the Intelligence Response Team Unit, IRT, on the ground of disobedience of court order.
The petitioners expressed dismay over the continued detention of Macpherson Olimini, Chime Ezebalike and Prince Lukman Oladele by the officers attached to IRT in Abuja in flagrant disobedience of court order.
They warned that the dignity and honour of the court could not be maintained if its orders were treated without due respect.
The petitions tagged “Brazen disobedience to a valid court order: A threat to our constitutional democracy and a call for your urgent intervention,” urged the AGF to compel the Nigeria Police Force to obey court orders.
According to the petitioners, the three men were arrested at different dates and different locations in Rivers State since last year, and subsequently brought and detained at the IRT Abuja on December 20, 2023 and had remained in continued detention since the said date.
The petitioners stated that since the arrest and detention of the three men, they made elaborate efforts to secure their administrative bail in line with the extant provisions of Sections 30 and 31 of the Administrative of Criminal Justice Act, 7015 but to no avail.
The petitioners said consequently, they approached the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and commenced three different suits for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of their clients as guaranteed under Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As altered).
The petitioners said, “On the hearing, of our Motion dated 27th December, 2023, the Court ordered that our Clients should be granted administrative bail within forty eight (48) hours of the service of the Order of Court on Nigeria Police in whose custody our clients are kept.
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“The Court Order of Court was served on the office of the Inspector General of Pole and DCP Muhammed Sanusi Ahmed (Commander Intelligence Response Team URI) Guzape, Abuja on 28th December, 2023.
“In a total and ignominious disobedience to the Order of a Court of competent jurisdiction, DCP Muhammad Sanusi (Commander IRT) bluntly refused to grant any of the applicants bail and this to say the least is the height of official recklessness, an affront to our judicial system and inimical to the revered principle of the Rule of Law.
“In line with Section 72 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act, Cap. S6 LFN 2004, we have approached the Court with the process of commencement of application for committal for contempt on the ground of disobedience of Court Order.
“Sir, we wish to state with emphasis that an Order of Court, whether right or wrong must be obeyed unless set aside by the same Court or on appeal. See the cases of Babatunde vs. Olatunji (2000) 2 NWLR (Pt. 646) 557, }.B. Estate Dev. & Prop. Ltd. vs, Nzegwu (No.1) (2016) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1507) at page 133, para G.
“It is contempt of court to refuse to do an act required by a judgment or order of court within the time specified therein or to disobey a judgment or an order restraining a person from doing a specified act. The dignity and honour of the court cannot be maintained if its orders are treated disdainfully and scornfully without due respect.
“In light of the above, we humbly call on you, as the Head of the Nigeria Police Force, who also have a supervisory role over the Intelligence Response Team Unit to direct the Commander – DCP Muhammed Sanusi Ahmed to release the Applicants – Chime Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele and Macpherson Olimini as ordered by the Court as the continued disobedience of a valid Court Order by your officers is capable of eroding, the confidence of our citizenry in Nigerian Police and may undermine our constitutional democracy.”