A Federal High Court sitting in Jos, the Plateau State, capital, has restrained the police from re-arresting the Ekiti State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Jide Awe, and four other members over alleged murder of Ayo Jeje and Juliana Adewumi during a political crisis in Erinjiyan-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Others granted relief are: Faboro Ojo John, Aniramu Basiru, Falayi Busuyi and Owonifari Sefiu.
Defendants in the case are: the Inspector General of Police, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Plateau State Commissioner of Police and Ekiti State Commissioner of Police.
In a motion under the enforcement of their fundamental right and fundamental rights enforcement procedure brought before Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa, the plaintiffs in suit no. FHC/J/CS/102/2014 prayed the court to declare as unconstitutional the planned and threatened arrest, detention and arraignment in connection with the fact leading to their previous arrest and arraignment for the murder.
The plaintiffs argued that the offence for which they were being targeted for re-arrest had previously been heard by a competent court of jurisdiction and the case dismissed having been discharged and acquitted of all the offences relating to or connecting with the murder.
They also argued that they cannot be re-arrested, detained and re-arraigned for the offence having been previously discharged and acquitted over the murder charge. Other reliefs sought include:
•an order of the court compelling and or restraining the respondents jointly or severally from arresting, detaining and prosecuting them for the offence; and
•an order restraining the respondents, their servants, agents and privies “whatsoever names called jointly and severally from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicants for the alleged offences”, the case having been earlier determined at a competent court wherein the applicants had been discharged and acquitted.
Ruling on the exparte motion, Lewis-Allagoa granted all the reliefs sought by the applicants pending the determination of the originating motion on notice before the court.
He ordered the motion to be served on the respondents not less than seven days before the hearing of the Originating Motion on Notice and adjourned the matter to December 3, 2014 for hearing.
Meanwhile, the Publicity Secretary of APC, Taiwo Olatubosun, has praised the ruling by the court, saying the judiciary remains the last hope of the people, noting that this ruling would have been unnecessary if not because of the state of siege the country has found itself.
“If not because that impunity and lawlessness reign in this country, this would not have been necessary because a court of competent jurisdiction had heard the case and suspects discharged and acquitted. But because Governor Ayo Fayose has no respect for the courts and rule of law generally, he is instigating the police in a witch-hunt to deal with the opposition,” Olatubosun said, stressing that the latest move by the governor confirmed APC’s concern three weeks ago that the ruling party was planning a clampdown on the opposition.