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Judge Warns ICPC, Police, EFCC Against Harassment Of Suspects

From Ignatius Okpara, Abakaliki – A federal High Court judge in Abakaliki, Justice M. A. Oyetenu, has warned law enforcement agencies, especially the police, and anti-graft organization against harassing and intimidating litigants while their cases are still pending in court.

She noted that such action is tantamount to disrespect of the court and interference since according to her, the purpose of law is to maintain peace and order.

Justice Oyetenu, also warned lawyers against the practice of filing cases on the very day such matters are to be heard in court, stressing that henceforth, she would not entertain such processes.

The judge read the riot act on Wednesday during the continued hearing into a suit filed by Chairman of Ebonyi local government Area, Paul Iganga, against the Inspector General of Police, Sulieman Abba, Nigeria Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, (ICPC).

She frowned at the habit of law enforcement agencies going about hounding parties to a suit thereby making the court helpless, saying “agents back off, it is only to ICPC but includes EFCC and the police”.

Justice Oyetenu, also expressed displeasure that instead of filing processes to enable the matter proceed; they were busy chasing the plaintiffs around, pointing out that whether the parties regularized  the filing of their processes or not, she will go on with the matters on the next adjourned date of March 4, 2015.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Chief Mudi Erhenede, had informed the court that his client has mobilized court bailiffs to serve the IGP, EFCC and ICPC in Abuja, adding that “what I find worrisome  in the whole thing is that ICPC and EFCC have been hounding my client, despite the fact that the matter was a subject of litigation”.

Erhenede, further submitted that as part of the ploy by the law enforcement agencies to continue to seek self-help and make the court helpless in the matter, the counsel to the police claimed that he was not served, when in essence he appeared in court in the capacity of the police lawyer.

In their separate pleas both ICPC and the police counsel, Ibekwe, stated that the claim that the plaintiff was being hounded and harassed is a mere allegation, pointing out that the fact that the matter was in court does not stop investigation.


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