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Court slams police inspector N5m damages over unlawful arrest of keke rider


Court slams police inspector N5m damages over unlawful arrest of keke rider

An Akwa Ibom State High Court has ordered a Policewoman in the State Police Command, Inspector Iniobong Umoren to pay a tricyclist, Jeremiah Sunday Udo N5m for his unlawful arrest and impoundment of his tricycle, which he bought on hire purchase for the sum of N1.9m.

The Court presided by Justice Ntong Ntong gave the order, Thursday, in a judgment on an application for the enforcement of the fundamental rights brought by the applicant, Jeremiah Sunday Udo, a native of Ikono Local Government Area.

Justice Ntong also ordered the first respondent, Mr. Udoka David, a friend of the keke rider to pay the tricyclist another N5m for instigating the Police to arrest and detain him for five days without food and water.

The Court, however, extricated the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Mr. Olatoye Durosinmi who was joined in the suit as the third respondent, but advised him to warn his officers and men to always carry out their duties within the ambit and purview of the law.

The tricyclist, who is a resident of Ifa Ikot Idang in Uyo, had told the Court that he has been fulfilling the hire purchase agreement with the owner of the keke, Mr Udoka David from his neighbouring village in Ikono to pay him N20,000 every week until last year when the Naira policy crippled the economy resulting in him owing a week returns of N20,000.

He said he was surprised to be ambushed and arrested on the 12th of February, 2023, after he had so far paid eight hundred and eighty-five thousand Naira (N885,000) out of the N1.9m agreed in the hire purchase for full recovery of the tricycle.

Justice Ntong in a one-hour judgement wondered why “Inspector Iniobong Umoren quickly impounded the tricycle and handed it over to the first respondent without an order of court which has the power to interpret the terms of hire purchase agreements between parties and enforce its terms and conditions.”

He said, “The first respondent, Mr. Udoka David took the law into his hands and lured the Policewoman, who also allowed herself to be led into jettisoning the rule of law using the name of Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police to authenticate her unlawful act” which the Court described as “satanic, nefarious and unwholesome antics against the applicant.”

Justice Ntong said, “Because of greed, Inspector Iniobong Umoren usurped the role of the Court and became a law unto herself, having encroached on the fundamental rights of the keke man, the law is there to protect the tricyclist from heartless people like Inspector Iniobong Umoren and Mr Udoka David.”

The judge said he “read all the processes filed by the parties and discovered that the evidence and documents including the bail bond, the petition and the statements exhibited by the first and second respondents, are doctored and fabricated to mislead the Court.”

The Court therefore ordered “Inspector Iniobong Umoren and Mr. Udoka David in the name of God Almighty, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Inspector General of Police to release forthwith, the applicant’s tricycle pending when a Court of competent jurisdiction will order otherwise under the hire purchase agreement”.

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