Fundamental Rights: Businessman wants court to issue perpetual injunction against IGP, others

An Abuja Federal High Court has been asked to issue a perpetual injunction against the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Alagbon Police Station, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Gwarinmpa Police Station, Lukas David of Alagbon Police Station, DCO Olaoye Dele of Gwarinmpa Police Station, Sigma Multi Concepts and Logistics Limited, Sultan Adebayo Adeagbo (AKA STRIKER MARIO), First City Monument Bank Plc., and Access Bank Plc., from harassing, intimidating, threatening, arresting and detaining a businessman, Jerome Afebuame.

According to a Motion on Notice designated FHC/ABJ/CS/371/2022 and brought pursuant to Sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Order 11 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 and African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 LFN 2004, the Applicant is also asking the court for a “Declaration that the arrest and detention of the Applicant by the Respondents is a breach of the Applicant’s fundamental rights to freedom of liberty, freedom, privacy and inhumane treatment even without petition or invitation.

“A declaration that the action of the Respondents to scale the fence of the Applicant, mount surveillance in the Applicant’s compound to restrict him from movement without warrant of arrest, petition or invitation, constitutes a breach of the Applicant’s fundamental rights to freedom of personal liberty, movement and association.”

He also wants, “An Order of this Honourable Court restraining the accounts of the 7th Respondent, pending the determination of this suit. Account name: Sigma Multi Concepts and Logistics Ltd. Account number: 0089016265. Bank Name: Access Bank and Sigma Multi Concepts and Logistics Ltd. Account number: 6455559019. Bank Name: FCMB.

“An Order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st to 7th Respondents, her servant, agents, workers and operatives from harassing, intimidating, threatening, arresting and detaining the Applicant.

“N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million Naira) as general damages jointly and severally against the 1st to 7th Respondents for the breach of fundamental rights of the Applicant.

“N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) jointly and severally against the 1st to 8th Defendants as special damages being the cost paid over to the lawyer as legal fees.

“N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) jointly and severally against the 1st to 7th Defendants as special damages for medical expenses incurred as a result of the arrest and detention of the Applicant.

“And for such orders as this court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

According to a statement in support of the application signed by the Applicant’s counsel, Ozougwu Alexander, and Arubaleze Gerald Ekene respectively, and brought pursuant to Order 2 Rule 3 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, the Applicant, who is a Nigerian and who resides in Abuja argued that sometime around February 2020, he had reached out to one Usman Ibrahim on the possibility of procuring 200,000 worth of US Dollars for his client.

The Applicant further stated, “That sequel to the above, the parties agreed to execute an agreement to the effect that $200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Dollars) will be transferred to the Applicant while he will transfer the Naira value as soon as he is credited.

“That on 23rd February 2022, the Applicant confirmed the credit of $200,000 to his Client’s account. Account name: Munacci Property Solutions. Account number: 4957311989.

“However, our client was reluctant to transfer the naira equivalent 107,000,000 (One Hundred and Seven Million Naira) to the account provided by Mr Usman Ibrahim because there was no evidence of where the funds were transferred from, thus raising questions of fraud.

“That the Applicant informed Mr Usman Abdullahi of this suspicion, but nothing was done, hence our client held unto the naira until the legitimate proof of transfer is sent.

“That on 22nd February 2022, the Applicant was invited by the 7th Defendant who claimed to be the principal of Mr Abdullahi to discuss and see ways to settle the issue, that is to provide the proof or statement of account where the fund was transferred from (details of the sender).

“That the reason why the Applicant delayed in effecting transfer is to ensure that the money is not a product of fraud.

“That the Applicant has never been convicted of any crime in Nigeria, talk more of financial crimes.

“The case of unlawful harassment and arrest by the Alagbon Policemen led by Inspector Lucas.

“That on the same 22nd February 2022, while the Applicant went over to discuss with the 7th Respondent, he was accosted by some police officers who claimed that they “came from Alagbon Police Station to arrest and bring the Applicant to Lagos for investigation without any invitation or warrant of arrest.

“Further to the above, the Applicant was taken to Maitama Police Station for questioning. However, he was detained until he transferred the said N107,000,000 (One Hundred and Seven Million Naira) to the 6th Respondent.

“It is pertinent to note that the 7th Respondent is the alter-ego and director of the 6th Respondent.

“That even after the Applicant informed the 4th Respondent of his suspicions, that the $200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Dollars) seems fraudulent as a result of an allegedly fake receipt provided by the 7th Respondent, hence the reason he asked the 7th Respondent for a legitimate statement of account detailing the information of the sender before he can transfer the naira equivalent.

“The 4th Respondent, out of desperation to dance with the 7th Respondent compelled the Applicant to initiate a transfer of 107,000,000 (One Hundred and Seven Million Naira) to an account provided by the 7th Respondent at the Maitama Police Station while ensuring that an indemnity agreement is executed on behalf of the Applicant that he will be refunded the full value of the Naira equivalent in the event that there is any issue with the $200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Dollars).

“That the applicant was detained along with the said Usman Ibrahim and Adedoyin without access to food or water before compelling him to transfer the said sum to the 7th Respondent.

“That few weeks after the above incidents, the Applicant received a message from the bank through his client that the money $200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Dollars) sent by Mr Usman Ibrahim could not be withdrawn as a result of fraudulent wire transaction.

“Immediately, the Applicant reached out to the 7th Respondent demanding for explanations and a possible refund as the transaction has been frustrated in his instance.

“Furthermore, the Applicant sent a copy of the letter from the bank (PNC Bank) informing him of their intention to close the account on 6th March, as a result of fraudulent wire transactions.

“That at this point, the 7th Respondent became recalcitrant and refused to offer a solution to the above issue.

“That the actions of the 7th Respondent prompted the Applicant to proceed to the Magistrate Court, Maraba to seek for an Order of injunction restricting the account of the 7th Respondent, pending further investigation to prevent the money for dissipating.

“That the 7th Respondent has now resorted to intimidation of all sorts using the Nigerian Police as a vehicle to harass and threaten the life and liberty of the Applicant even though the matter was already pending in Court.

“This intimidation however continued even when there was a clear direction from the 1st Respondent that the matter be investigated by the Commissioner of Police in Ikeja.

“That the final straw that broke the Carmel’s toe was the event that occurred on the 19th day of March 2022 at about 5’O’clock in the morning. While the Applicant was away, some men who claimed to be from the Gwarinmpa Police Station, led by the 5th Respondent was caught blatantly jumping the fence/gate while making their way to the Applicant’s home.

“That as a result, the security man along with the neighbours confronted them and inquired the reason for jumping the fence without a valid Court Order, arrest warrant and an invitation to say the least. In response, they said through the 5th Respondent that they were acting under the Commissioner of Police directive to arrest the applicant.

“That the constant harassment and intimidation has caused the Applicant’s reputation a lot of damage as his neighbours and colleagues now see him as a fraudster, also he has suffered from severe anxiety disorder which has affected his reasoning.

“That the acts of the 1st to 7th Respondents are in clear breach of the Applicant’s fundamental right to personal liberty, freedom of movement, dignity of his person and privacy of his home.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the civil case.

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