By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Delta State Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Mohammed Inuwa, before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday denied threatening to arrest former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi.
The police had in September threatened to arrest Gbagi over allegedly arresting and charging four of his staff working in his hotel to court for allegedly stealing his N5,000.
Inuwa, while responding in an affidavit to a suit filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja by the former Minster, told the court that the Police in Delta State had stayed action regarding the recent Police invitation to Gbagi and have not been threatening to arrest him.
The Commissioner of Police in the affidavit submitted: “That contrary to paragraph 4(c), (d),(f) and (g) of the Applicant’s affidavit in support of the motion for jointer, the party sought to be joined together with the Respondents in this case have stayed every action regarding the invitation of the Applicant and have not been threatening to arrest the Applicant.”
According to the respondents to suit No. FHC/ABJ/1267/2020 before the Federal High Court, Abuja, the Delta Commissioner of Police added that the Police is “not making any effort after been aware of the pending interim order” granted by the Court on the 30th Day of September, 2020, stopping the Police from arresting Gbagi.
The submission by the Commissioner of Police to the Federal High Court through his lawyer, Lukman Fagbemi, contradicts his comments in an interview published by a National daily on the November 25th, 2020, where-in he threatened and vowed to arrest Gbagi inspite of the subsisting Court injunction.
He was quoted as saying: “Gbagi is not above the law, not even with me. He must have obtained an interim injunction to evade arrest but there are several cases against him warranting his arrest. I will not talk to him again, but I will definitely arrest him if I see him.”
However, the Hon. Justice Taiwo Taiwo in his comments on the suit warned the Delta State Commissioner of Police against violating the court’s interim order as doing so amounts to unlawful conduct.
He added that a final ruling on the suit before the Federal High Court would be delivered next week Wednesday.
Gbagi, while responding to the recent threat issued against him by the Commissioner of Police, described it as a gross violation of his fundamental rights as a law abiding citizen of Nigeria.
According to him, Inuwa’s comments, particularly against the court’s directive restraining the police in Delta State from arresting him in view of an ongoing court case into the recent molestation allegations against him, constitutes an act of intimidation, and abuse of his position and powers as Commissioner of Police.
He added that with the intervention of the courts in the molestation allegation, the truth will be unearthed for Nigerians to realise he was a victim of a complex political conspiracy to thwart his Governorship bid in 2023.
“I read in a National daily the most recent threat by the Delta State Commissioner of Police to arrest me despite an interim court order restraining him from so doing pending the outcome of an ongoing suit.
“Let it be categorically stated that Inuwa’s threat constitutes a violation of my rights as a law abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It also violates my freedom of movement and association as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“His blatant arrogance and disregard for Judicial processes amounts to a flagrant abuse of his powers and office as the Commissioner of Police.
“I, therefore, call on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to call him to order as his conduct and utterances are unethical and unbecoming of a decent gentleman or officer charged with the responsibility and duty of maintaining law and order in Delta State,” Gbagi said.