From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
THE Federal High Court, Abuja, has directed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister Justice to warn the Inspector General of Police on the consequences of treating courts with levity.
Justice Gabriel Kolawale issued the directive, following the failure of the police to appear before him in a case of enforcement of fundamental human rights instituted against the police and four others by the Incorporated Trustees of the Peace Corps of Nigeria.
The judge stated that the police, as an institution established by law, must subject itself to obedience of law in the interest of the rule of law.
At the resumed hearing of the suit yesterday, the inspector general of police and the Nigeria Police, who are the major defendants in the court action, were not in court without any cogent reason.
The Attorney General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser, the Department of State Services and its Director-General, who are also defendants in the suit, were represented by Mr. Terhemba Agber.
Counsel to the Peace Corps and its National Commandant, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), had urged Justice Kolawale for an order, restraining the police from further taking steps against the plaintiffs in the pending court action.
Agabi, a former attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, had specifically pleaded with the judge to order the police to vacate the corporate headquarters of the Peace Corps in Abuja, sealed off since February 28 and to also order the release of the vehicles and other property carted away by the police when the office was invaded.
But counsel to the attorney general, Agber and three others urged the court to allow hearing of the parties in the matter before giving any order.
In his ruling, Justice Kolawale expressed displeasure over the absence of the police in court without justifiable reason.
He said the police, who were the antagonist in the case, ought to have realised that a case for the enforcement of fundamental human rights to freedom of liberty ought to be treated with deserved urgency.
He said: “It is an affront to the court for a party in a pending court action to take any further step in such a manner that may affect the foundation of the case.”
The judge adjourned hearing in the matter until May 15.