10th July, 2017
A Lagos-based lawyer and activist, Chief Malcom Omirhobo, on Monday dragged the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) before a Federal High Court Lagos, for allegedly denying him access to inmates.
Joined as defendants in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/895/17, are: The Comptroller General of Nigeria Prison Service, The Controller of Prisons in Lagos State and one Mr Yomi Oluwaniyi.
Omirhobo is seeking a declaration that the refusal by the third respondent, to allow him access to prison inmates to afford them free legal services, constitutes an infringement on his fundamental rights.
He is seeking a declaration that the Kirikiri Medium Prison is a public place and so, the third defendant has no right to deny him access to same.
Omirhobo is also seeking a declaration that his intimidation by the third defendant, by hitting his chest and further preventing him from representing prison inmates, was a flagrant violation of his right.
In a supporting affidavit, the activist avers that he has always been granted easy access to the prison and its inmates without hindrance.
He averred that on May 26, he visited the Kirikiri Medium Prison, as usual, to offer free legal services to inmates who could not afford to pay for same.
According to the plaintiff, before he could gain entrance to the prison gate, he was stopped by the third defendant who requested to know about his movement.
He averred that he had politely replied the third defendant, “I know my way already, thank you”.
The plaintiff averred that the third defendant who felt unsatisfied with the answer pushed him backward and insisted that he must explain his movement.
Omirhobo averred that he felt humiliated by the sudden attack of the third defendant, and so, he immediately requested to make a report to the officer in charge of the prisons.
He averred that following continuous interference by the third defendant, he was denied access to the senior officer and asked to go home and return another day.
According to the plaintiff, the prison is a public place and its officers have no right to deny any legal practitioner access to inmates to offer free legal services.
He, therefore, demands a public apology by the defendants, on the ill treatment meted on him.
In addition, Omirhobo is claiming the sum of N1million and N250,000 against the defendants, as damages for rights infringement and cost of the legal action respectively.
He sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further restraining him from gaining access to prison inmates.
However, no date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.