An Abuja High Court 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 Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Commissioner of Police by popular musician and activist, Mr. Charles Oputa alias Charly Boy.
Charly Boy 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.
Members of the group clashed with the Police during the sit-out protests they held last year to demand that President Muhammadu Buhari who was undergoing treatment for an undisclosed illness in London then should come back to the country to resume his job or resign.
The protests followed the prolonged medical vacation of the President in the United Kingdom.
The Court had on February 20, 2018 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 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 Charly Boy and his group at Unity Fountain, Abuja.
Addressing the Court, Inibehe Effiong said the contents of the video clips speaks for themselves and that the Respondent acted in contravention of the fundamental rights of his client when they disrupted the protest and attacked him with teargas canisters, water cannon and wild police dogs.
He also asked the Court to dismiss the preliminary objection filed by the police challenging the jurisdiction of the FCT 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 Charly Boy not to go ahead with his protest after receiving intelligence report that there will likely be a breakdown of law and order.
He argued that Charly Boy 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.
In his response, Effiong referred the court to Section 167 (d) of the Evidence Act 2011 and submitted that the police withheld 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 Inspector General of Police versus All Nigeria Peoples Party that the police have no right to stop a peaceful protest simply because it believes that there will be 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.