By Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court on Thursday turned down the request by the embattled senator representing Kogi west constituency, Dino Melaye, to order the Nigeria Police Force to vacate his residence.
The Force had since Friday, December 28, 2018, laid siege to No 11 Sangha Street, off Mississippi, Maitama, Abuja, residence of the senator in a bid to arrest him over alleged attempted culpable homicide.
But Melaye had in an exparte application citing breach of his fundamental rights urged the court to order the police out of his premises.
The application dated and filed on December 31, 2018, was brought pursuant to order 4 rule 3 and 11 of the fundamental rights enforcement rule and section 33 and 35 (1) of the 1999 constitution.
In the motion argued on his behalf by his lawyer, Nkem Okoro, the senator prayed the court to order the police to vacate his premises and to remove all blockade to his entrance so as to allow free entry and exit into and out of the premises.
He also prayed the court for an interim order restraining the respondents from further threatening the life of Dino or throwing his life in jeopardy.
In addition, Melaye asked the court to restrain the police from taking further steps to arrest him or further infringe upon his rights to free movement.
Arguing the motion, Okoro submitted that under section 23 to 30 of the Police Act, the police lacked the powers to block the premises of the applicant.
The motion was supported by a 36-paragraph affidavit attached with seven exhibits and a written address.
However, the court after listening to the submissions of the plaintiff’s counsel refused to grant the exparte application.
Justice Maha instead ordered for accelerated hearing of the substantive suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/ 1632/2018.
The court also ordered that the process be served on the counsel to the Inspector General of Police (IG) Ibrahim Idris, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), who was in court.
He said he was in court upon the receipt of a hearing notice which was erroneously served on his client.
She subsequently adjourned to January 14, 2019 for hearing of the substantive suit.
Justice Maha however ordered that the case file be returned to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, for re- assignment in view of the fact that her sitting as a vacation judge ends Thursday.
Meanwhile, the police have continued to maintain that members of the force deployed to effect the arrest of Melaye at his Abuja residence would not retreat until the senator who is wanted by the police for alleged attempted culpable homicide turns himself in to the police for investigation.
He was said to have committed the act on July 19, 2018, when he “and his armed thugs attacked police personnel; shot and wounded Sgt. Danjuma Saliu attached to 37 Police Mobile Force (PMF) on stop and search duty along Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Road in Kogi State”.
The police said they resorted to a siege to his residence following the senator’s refusal to honour various police invitation for investigation of the alleged crime.