IGP shuns court order to produce Bayelsa guber candidate

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Mr Mohammed Adamu, the inspector-general of police, has ignored the order of a federal high court sitting in Abuja to produce Vijah Opuama, a governorship candidate in the November 2019 Bayelsa state election.

The court had in a ruling on an ex parte application moved by Michael Odey, his lawyer, ordered the IGP to produce Opuama before the court on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.

Taiwo Taiwo, the presiding said although the truthfulness of the applicant’s claims cannot be verified until the police respond to the allegations, the police ought not to have detained Opuama beyond 24 hours without granting him administrative bail or charging him with an offence before any court of competent jurisdiction as provided for in the constitution.

Taiwo said the IGP would have to show cause why the detainee should not be released unconditionally.

Aside from failing to produce the detainee in court, the IGP also did not send any lawyer to represent him in court or file any defence as earlier ordered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on Monday.

Justice Taiwo, on Wednesday, frowned on the IGP’s violation of his Monday’s orders.

After hearing Opuama’s lawyer, Mr Michael Odey, Justice Taiwo issued a fresh order directing the IGP and the co-defendant in the suit, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the IGP’s Monitoring Unit, to provide the detainee in court on September 7, 2020 “unfailingly”.

He ordered that “the applicant shall be produced unfailingly in court on Monday, September 7, 2020 at 10 am prompt by any person holding him or the respondents named on the court processes i.e. the Inspector General of Police and the Assistant Commissioner of Police Monitoring Unit.”

According to the judge, the IGP and his subordinate joined as the 2nd respondent in suit risked being personally summoned should they fail to comply with the fresh order.

Mr Opuama, candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) has been in police detention since August 15, 2020.

His party was one of the several parties that petitioned the outcome of the state governorship election at the tribunal seeking the removal of Douye Diri as governor of the state.

Opuama argued that Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, deputy governor of the state, forged his declaration of age and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate to enable him to contest the election but his petition was, however, dismissed by the tribunal for lacking merit.

His wife said he was arrested by the police within the premises of the tribunal in Abuja, on August 15, 2020, while waiting for judgment to be delivered on his petition.

In a supporting affidavit deposed to by Ebikoboere Amaebi, Opuama’s wife, she narrated how she was struck when “some unidentified men” allegedly arrested her husband at Wuse Zone 6 magistrates court, Abuja.

She said when she tried to inquire the reason for her husband’s arrest, some men hit her “hard” and caused her “severe pain, anguish, and suffering”.

“I have been losing blood since then and I am apprehensive that I may lose my pregnancy over that kick by the police officers that came to arrest my husband, the applicant,” she stated.

“The applicant was arrested that day and whisked away by the police officers who we later understood are from the office of the 2nd respondent and directly instructed by the 1st and 2nd (assistant commissioner of police heading the IGP’s monitoring unit) respondents to effect the arrest.”

She added that her husband did not even get the privilege of listening to the outcome of his petition.