Missing Person: Shipping Coy Employee Drags IG, Others To Court


An employee of a shipping company, Supermaritime Nigeria Limited, Desmond Anumudu,  whose liberty is being threatened because of the disappearance of a worker on board  a ship, has dragged the Inspector-General of Police before a Federal High Court in  Lagos.

Others joined as co-defendants in the case are the Commissioner of Police, Lagos  State; Commissioner of Police in charge of Homicide Section, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos  and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department,  Lagos.

In an affidavit, Anumudu averred that he is an employee of Supermaritime Nigeria  Limited, who is in turn, is the local agent and representative of owner of MV  Silveretta in Nigeria.

He averred further that about 4 April this year, Supermaritime Limited received a  formal invitation from the Homicide Section of the Nigeria Police to report at its  office at Alagbon in connection with an alleged case of conspiracy and murder.

Upon receipt of the said invitation, the deponent and one Mr. Jonathan Markus,  honoured the invitation only to be confronted with a petition written on behalf of  the family of one Mr. Akinduro Boluwaji, alleging a case of murder for disappearance  of Boluwaji on board the vessel, Silveretta, on 8 November, 2009 when it was in  Lagos discharging cargo.

Akinduro Boluwaji was said to have been last seen on board the vessel when he came  there briefly and consequently, Anumudu was detained but later released when his  employer paid N200,000 and was told to return for further questioning.

Supermaritime then briefed the law firm of Femi Atoyebi (SAN), who requested to  question one Adeolu Olanrewaju, who in his testimony, admitted that the alleged  missing man, although a staff of his company, Jomalic, was not on duty with him on  the night of 8 November, 2009, but was on another vessel nearby named Orienda and  that he only came to sleep on the vessel, Silveretta, for a few hours.

Adeolu Olanrewaju also alleged that no other crew member knew or was aware of the  presence of the alleged missing man and that there were three policemen officially  on board the vessel that night.

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In view of this, the plaintiffs alleged that it is a clear case of blackmail by the  family of the alleged missing man to make people believe that he actually died on  board the vessel.

Since the incident, the family of the missing man had demanded $100,000 as  settlement and sensing the unwillingness of the vessel owners to pay such amount, it  was reduced to $30,000 and subsequently, $10,000.

The plaintiff has since then been inundated by police invitations and interrogations  as well as telephone calls, putting him under pressure to pay the compensation.

In view of this alleged intimidation, the plaintiff is urging the court to declare  that any claim, be it civil or criminal, arising out of the alleged disappearance of  the said Akinduro Boluwaji while on board of the vessel, Silveretta, is purely a  general maritime claim in admiralty cognisable only to Federal High Court.

The plaintiff also wants the court to declare that no other government agency  including but not limited to the Nigeria Police Force or other security outfits than  a court of law is entitled to harass or detain him in relation to this matter  without an express order of the court.

Justice Binta Murtala Nyako has adjourned for further hearing.

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