The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja presided over by Justice Maryann E. Anenih has fixed March 27, 2018 for judgment in the N500 Million fundamental rights enforcement suit brought against the Commissioner of Police in the F.C.T. by popular musician and activist, Mr. Charles Oputa alias CharlyBoy.
CharlyBoy had dragged the police to court seeking declarations that his fundamental rights to dignity of the human person, personal liberty, freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly were violated when the police attacked him and members of his group, OurMumuDonDo, on August 8, 2017 with teargas canisters, water cannon and wild police dogs at the Unity Fountain in Abuja during their sit-out protests last year when they demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari should either resume or resign following his prolonged medical vacation to the United kingdom.
On Monday 20th February, 2018 the Court listened to arguments from Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, who is the counsel to Mr. Charles Oputa.
Effiong who appeared alongside Mr. S.M. Oyeghe applied to the court to demonstrate Exhibit C1, a video compact disc attached to the Applicant’s affidavit, which comprised of three short video clips recorded by Channels TV and the Publicity Secretary of OurMumuDonDo movement, Raphael Adebayo. The application was granted and the three clips were played in the open court using a projector.
The video clips showed how the police attacked CharlyBoy and his group.
Addressing the Court, Inibehe Effiong said that the contents of the video clips speak for themselves and that the Respondent acted in contravention of the fundamental rights of his client when they disrupted his peaceful protest and attacked him with teargas canisters, water cannon and wild police dogs during his peaceful protest.
He also asked the Court to dismiss the preliminary objection filed by the police challenging the jurisdiction of the F.C.T. High Court to entertain the suit because both the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory and the Federal High Court have concurrent jurisdictions to entertain fundamental rights applications.
On his part, counsel to the police, Adama Musa, asked the court to dismiss the suit because the police had warned CharyBoy not to go ahead with his protest after it received intelligence report that there will likely be a breakdown of law and order. He also said that CharlyBoy constituted a security risk and that the police acted within their powers. Musa also objected to the suit on the ground that the Commissioner of Police is an agency of the federal government and that only the Federal High Court can entertain the suit.
However, Effiong responded to the argument of the police by referring the court to Section 167 (d) of the Evidence Act 2011 and submitted that the police was withholding evidence by not tendering the said intelligence report. He further insisted that even if such report existed, the Court of Appeal had decided in the case of IGP versus ANPP that the police have no right to stop a peaceful protest simply because it believes that there will be a breakdown of law and order.
After listening to arguments from both sides, Justice M. E. Anenih adjourned the case to March 27, 2018, for judgment.