The Inspector General of Police, Mr Adamu Mohammed, on Wednesday, shunned the August 31, 2020 order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, directing him to produce a Bayelsa State governorship candidate, Vijah Opuama, who has been in police detention since August 15, 2020.
Aside failing to produce the detainee in court, the IGP also did not send any lawyer to represent him in court or file any defence as earlier ordered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on Monday.
Justice Taiwo, on Wednesday, frowned on the IGP’s violation of his Monday’s orders.
After hearing Opuama’s lawyer, Mr Michael Odey, issued a fresh order directing the IGP and the co-defendant in the suit, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the IGP’s Monitoring Unit, to provide the detainee in court on September 7, 2020 “unfailingly”.
He ordered that “the applicant shall be produced unfailingly in court on Monday September 7, 2020 at 10am prompt by any person holding him or the respondents named on the court processes i.e. the Inspector General of Police and the Assistant Commissioner of Police Monitoring Unit”.
According to the judge, the IGP and his subordinate joined as the 2nd respondent in suit risked being personally summoned should they fail to comply with the fresh order.
“That if the applicant is not brought before the court as specified on September 7, 2020, this court will not hesitate to order the appearance of the respondents before it,” the judge ruled.
Opuama, the Liberation Movement’s governorship candidate in the Bayelsa State’s November 16, 2019 election, was said to have been arrested by the police on the premises of the state’s Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja, on August 15, 2020 while waiting for judgment to be delivered on his petition challenging the outcome of the disputed poll.
Justice Taiwo had, on Monday, following an ex parte application moved by his lawyer, Odey, ordered the IGP and his co-respondent, to produce Opuama in court on Wednesday and directed them to show cause why the detainee should not be released unconditionally.
Opuama’s wife, Ebikoboere Amaebi, stated in the affidavit filed in support of her husband’s application that she was with the governorship candidate at Wuse Zone 6, Magistrate Court, Abuja, venue of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, waiting for the tribunal’s judgment to be delivered in his case, when “some unidentified men” allegedly violently arrested him on August 15, 2020.
Although Opuama’s petition was dismissed by the tribunal in the August 15, 2020 judgment, the election of Governor Duoye Diri who is of the Peoples Democratic Party, was nullified with a fresh poll ordered to be held within 90 days by a subsequent judgment of the tribunal delivered on the petition by Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party on August 17, 2020.
But Governor Diri had appealed against the tribunal’s judgment. The Court of Appeal in Abuja has yet to fix a date for hearing.