24th May, 2019
The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, threatened to send Mr Simon Lough, a police prosecutor, to prison for violating an order of the court.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his ruling, held that it was obligatory on every person to obey orders of the court.
“This court stands to commit Mr Lough to prison custody for this blatant act of impunity and contemptuous disobedience.
“The exercise of restraint by this court in not dealing with the learned
counsel for the complainant/applicant (Lough) forthrightly is to demonstrate to the learned gentleman that the best of use of power is to restrain”, the judge said.
The court also dismissed an application filed by the Police seeking a stay of execution of an order, allowing, Sen. Ademola Adeleke to travel to the United States for medical check-up.
The judge, on May 6, gave the senator permission to travel to the United States on May 7 and return on June 9 for medical treatment.
The judge had however, ordered Adeleke to honour an invitation of the police on May 6 before traveling and restrained the police from arresting him.
The Police, however, in defiance of the order, arrested Adeleke when he honoured the invitation.
He was subsequently arraigned in a Magistrate Court in Mpape area of the Federal Capital Territory on a five count charge, bordering on alleged false statement and forgery.
The police approached the court with an application praying it to stay execution of the ruling, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal at the Court of Appeal.
The security agency claimed that it’s statutory duties would be disturbed if the ruling of the court was executed while the appeal was pending, since the senator would have escaped from the country.
In dismissing the application, Justice Ekwo held that from the submissions of Lough, Adeleke had already traveled which meant that the application was spent.
The judge said there was nothing to stay as injunction was not normally granted over completed acts.
“The issue here is not merely that of granting an injunction over a completed act but whether a party can disobey an order of court and come before the same court, seeking for its discretionary power”.
According to him, the police refused to comply with the order of the court and to have reason for not complying, the police resorted to self help.
This he said was by arraigning Adeleke before the Magistrate Court on May 7, just to stop him from traveling.
The judge further said that the police acted disdainfully by arraigning Adeleke on the day he was granted leave to travel for medical check up in an inferior court.
He added that by doing so, the police had derailed the authority of the court, which he said was a condemnable act.
He described Adeleke’s arrest by the police and his arraignment as a very dubious manoeuvre of judicial system in order to avoid compliance with the order of the court.
Justice Ekwo subsequently dismissed the application for lacking in merit.