- I didn’t receive any police invitation, Senate president replies
- Says Rivers delivered decisive mandate in Wike’s Re-election
Deji Elumoye and Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, Tursday, ordered the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Senators Dino Melaye and Ben Murray-Bruce to immediately honour the invitation of the police over alleged attack on some policemen during the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) protest over the outcome of Osun State governorship election on October 5, 2018.
Justice Abang gave the order in a judgment he delivered in a fundamental rights suit filed by Saraki, Melaye and Murray-Bruce.
But in a swift reaction, Saraki has stated that at no point was any invitation extended to him by the police to appear before it over the protest
This is coming as Senate President has described the re-election of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State as a decisive victory notwithstanding the antics of some opposition elements in the state.
The trio had in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/03/095/2018, prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja to declare that the harassment that was given to them by the police during their peaceful protest on October 5, including the teargas that was fired at them, amounted to gross violation of their fundamental human rights.
They had also prayed the court to stop the Inspector General of Police and FCT Commissioner of Police, from inviting them, harrassing and intimidating them over the incident.
But delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Abang held that the invitation by the police does not translate to breach of fundamental human rights of the applicants.
He accordingly dismissed the suit for lacking in merit and ordered the applicants to honour the police invitation without fail.
“The invitation of the applicants on the October 6 and 8, 2018, remains valid and subsisting. The applicants should without fail report to police.
“The application lacks merit, therefore it failed. A cost of N50,000 is awarded against the applicants”, Abang held.
According to the judgment, the police have a constitutional responsibility to invite and interrogate any person, who is not covered by immunity, over suspected breach of the law.
The judge said rushing to the court on mere invitation to file application on breach of fundamental human rights was against the constitutional role of the police.
“The applicants did not wait for infringement to occur before coming to court. They cannot by mere invitation say they are harassed, intimidated or denied their freedom of movement. The police were merely carrying out their constitutional duty.
“The police are constitutionally empowered to invite any person, who has no immunity for questioning.
“They ought to report to police on invitation; it is the outcome of the invitation that could be said to breach of fundamental human rights. The court cannot question the police on invitation, nor can the court restrain the police from their lawful role,” Abang said.
In sustaining the objection raised by the police against the application, Abang said the application was not supported by competent affidavit.
Aside this, the judge said the applicants ought to have deposed to affidavit each and personally, and not by a proxy as in the instant case.
“In this case the three senators filed one suit. They didn’t file separate application nor deposed to any affidavit, which is required in fundamental human rights case.
“This is in breach of order 2 rule 4 of the fundamental rights enforcement procedure,” the judge held.
Saraki, Melaye and Murray-Bruce had dragged the IGP and FCT Commissioner of Police to stop the police from any attempt to arrest them for staging a protest to the National Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Police Headquarters, Abuja.
While the IG was cited as the 1st respondent in the matter, the Commissioner of Police in the FCT was sued as the second respondent.
The applicants were among leaders of the opposition PDP who marched to the office of the electoral body to protest against the outcome of the Osun State governorship election.
Reacting to the court’s judgment, Saraki stated yesterday that at no point was any invitation extended to him by the police to appear before it over the protest.
His Media Adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, told THISDAY yesterday that : “The Senate President is not in possession of any invite from the police high command over the issue.
“I can confirm to you that no such letter was sent to the Senate President from the police over the rally held to protest the outcome of Osun State governorship poll last October”.
Meanwhile, Saraki, has described the re-election of Governor Nyesom Wike as a decisive victory notwithstanding what he described as the antics of some opposition elements in the state.
Saraki, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by Olaniyonu, said Wike’s victory, despite the desperate antics of some opposition forces in the state, was a testament to his determination to develop Rivers State for his people.
“As you prepare to begin your next term at the helm of your state’s affairs, I wish you and the great people of Rivers State great success and many more achievements in the years to come.
“As a committed and resilient leader who has constantly demonstrated your commitment to the development of your state, in particular, and Nigeria as a whole, the new decisive mandate that your people have entrusted in you is not surprising to anyone.
“In this regard, as you prepare to embark on the new mandate that the great people of Rivers State have entrusted in you and our great party, PDP, I wish you the utmost grace and wisdom of the Almighty for the task ahead,” Saraki further said.