Court dismisses lawyer’s rights abuse suit against Lagos CP, client

A fundamental rights infringement suit filed by a lawyer, Okechukwu Obiajunwa, against the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and three others, before a Federal High Court, Lagos, has been dismissed.

Apart from dismissal of the suit, the court also ordered Barrister Okechukwu to pay the sum of N50, 000, to Mr. Chukwuemeka Ugbom Robert, a former employer of Dana Airlines, who was fourth respondent in the suit.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo, who presided over the court, dismissed the suit and awarded the N50 ,000 damages against the lawyer and in favour of the fourth respondent, after pronouncing the suit as being frivolous and lacking in merit.

The lawyer, Okechukwu had dragged the Commissioner of Police alongside the Officers in-charge of ‘X’ Squad and  Supol Admin Team 1 both of Lagos Police Command and Mr. Chukwuemeka U. Robert, in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/994/18, seeking a declaration that his invitation by the Police on June 7, 2018, at the instance of Mr. Chukwuemeka over a civil matter that still pending before National Industrial Court, Lagos, was unlawful, illegal, inhuman,and  gross violation of his right to persona liberty as enshrined under section 35_ 41(1), 46(1) and (2) of 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (As amended)

The lawyer had asked the court for a  declaration that the undertaking foisted on him by the Police without any formal investigation to pay Mr. Chukwuemeka total sum of N97,000.00 over a civil matter still pending in National Industrial court, Lagos Nigeria, is void, unbinding, unenforceable and unsustainable whatsoever.

He also asked for an order restraining the Police, whether by themselves or under instruction from or to other security Agency, from further inviting arresting, harassing, abusing, cursing, charging and/or intimidating him in connection with the subject matter of this suit pending final entertainment and determination of this action by this Honourable Court. 

An order for damages In the sum of N1  million against all the respondent jointly and severally being damages for violation of the Applicant’s fundamental human rights among others. 

However, the fourth respondent, Chukwuemeka, in his counters affidavit filed and argued by his lawyer, Oke Ojakovo, while urging the court to dismiss the  lawyer’s suit for been frivolous and lacking in merit, had also urged the court to award an adequate cost in his favour against the lawyer.

Ojakovo told the court during the trial of the suit that the event that led to the arrest of the applicant was due to the petition written against him over his failure to release the entitlement received from Dana Airlines on behalf of his client.

Ojakovo told the court that the action of the applicant contravened Rule 23 of the Rules of Professional Conduct For Legal Practitioners Act 2007.

“My Lord, the fourth respondent employed the service of the Applicant to approach his former employer Dana Airline Limited over his ARM Pension and the act of not remitting tax from his Salary to LIRS. 

“The fourth respondent paid in total the sum of N97,000.00 to the Applicant in other to institute the action in Court, Settlement was called by Dana Airline Limited and Dana Airlines agreed to pay the fourth respondent his ARM Pension amounting to N264,330.00 and a N200,000.00 for Legal Services, Cost and damages incurred by the fourth respondent. 

“The Applicant represented the fourth respondent in all meetings with Dana Airline Limited. The fourth respondent was shocked to see that it was only the ARM Pension cheque that was sent to him by the applicant, the fourth Respondent called the applicant on phone only to be told by the Applicant that N200,000.00 paid for damages was written in his name and meant for him and not the fourth respondent”.

“The respondent see no reason why the Applicant withheld the N200,000.00 paid to the fourth respondent for cost and damages incurred, the fourth respondent paid for the service of the Applicant in that case, the Applicant didn’t incurred any damages from the suit thereby entitling the Applicant for the money paid as damages and cost”. 

“The question I keep asking myself; did the applicant incurred any damages? Was it the applicant money that was used In filling the suit in the National Industrial Court? Was it Dana Airline that employed the services of the Applicant in that suit? Amounting to Dana Airline paying the Applicant N200,000.00 for legal services? The answer remain No”.

He consequently urged the court to dismiss the lawyer’s suit with substantial cost in favour of his client, as the suit is frivolous and lacking in merit.

Delivering judgement in the suit, Justice Oweibo upheld the fourth respondent’s counsel argument and dismissed the suit and awarded N50, 000 damages against the lawyer in favour of the fourth respondent. 

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