The Federal High Court in Abuja, for the third time, on Monday, ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to produce before it a governorship candidate in the November 16, 2020 election in Bayelsa State, Vijah Opuama.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, had on August 3, 2020, and subsequently on September 2, ordered the production of the detainee in court but the orders were shunned by the IGP.
The judge, on Monday, issued the third order, following the failure of the police to comply with the September 2 order which directed that the detainee be produced in court for Monday’s proceedings.
The fresh order directed the IGP to produce Opuama, who was arrested by policemen from the IGP’s Monitoring Unit on August 15, 2020, in court on Wednesday.
He said, “The court made an order that the applicant be produced in this court. That order must be obeyed.
“I shall, therefore, make an order that the applicant must be produced on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.
“The applicant must be produced in court on that day unfailing.”
He also fixed September 9 for the hearing of Opuama’s bail application.
A lawyer, T. O Amalaha, who appeared for the IGP, and the head of the Monitoring Unit of the IGP office sued by Opuama as the 2nd defendant, however, pleaded with the judge to adjourn the case till September 16 instead of September 9.
But the judge, in declining the request, said he could not afford to give the police another seven days after they violated the two previous orders issued for the production of the detainee in court.
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Justice Taiwo added, “We are in a democracy. Nigeria is not a Banana Republic. Public officers cannot afford to act irrationally.”
He threatened that should the police fail to produce the detainee in court, “I will order the IG to appear in court”.
“What is the big deal about producing somebody in court?” The judge queried.
Opuama, the Liberation Movement’s governorship candidate in the Bayelsa State’s November 16, 2019 election, was arrested by the policemen from the IGP’s monitoring unit 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.
His wife stated in a suit filed before Justice Taiwo that the politician was only later told that he was arrested over “a petition written against him for recording a phone call” received by him “sometime back from a caller (08029579959) who identified himself in the phone as Benson Agadaga, Chief of Staff”.
Denying the allegation, she maintained that “there is no offence known to law as recording a phone call received from a caller”.
Following an ex parte application by his lawyers, Justice Taiwo on August 31, 2020, ordered the IGP to produce Opuama in court on September 2.
On September 2, the IGP shunned the court as he neither produced the detainee in court nor send any lawyer to represent him.
Justice Taiwo, who frowned on the IGP’s conduct at the September 2 proceedings, issued a fresh order directing him to produce the detainee in court on Monday, September 7 “unfailingly”.
On Monday, Opuama was not produced in court as ordered by the judge promoting the judge to issue a fresh order to the IGP to produce the detainee in court on Wednesday.