The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, yesterday, restrained the Inspector General of Police, Mr Hafiz Ringim, from okaying the arrest of the President of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, and 10 top officials of the glass house, pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice they filed before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, reports Ikechukwu Nnochiri
Justice Auta made the order sequel to a motion ex-parte that was argued in court yesterday by counsel to the plaintiffs, Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN.
The other 10 NFF helmsmen who equally secured the protection of the High Court yesterday were, Chief Mike Umeh, Mr Johnson Effiong, Barrister Christopher Green, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, Emmanuel Olaleye Adepoju, Mr Deji Tinubu, Alhaji Shehu Adamu, Chief Felix Anyansi Agwu and Alhaji Muazu Sulaiman.
They told the trial court that a Commissioner of Police, Jubril O. Adeniji, not only invited them for questioning, but also vowed to arrest and lock them up following their alleged disobedience to an order of a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Consequently, the embattled NFF officials pleaded the court to invoke its original jurisdiction and restrain the police IG from arresting or further inviting them for interview in connection with the said case, just as they decried that their freedom of movement and right to liberty have been severely restricted since May 24, when copies of invitation letters from the Nigerian Police Force was served on them.
The plaintiffs, via suit No FHC/Abj/CS/54/11, specifically beseeched the High Court for “an order restraining the defendants, by themselves, and all officers, servants and functionaries of the Nigerian Police Force, from inviting or further inviting or arresting or threatening to arrest the plaintiffs or any of them on account of or in connection with any order or orders made in Suit No FHC/L/CS/962/2010, on 7th day of September, 2010, attached to the affidavit in support of this application as exhibit NFF.2, pending the determination of the motion on notice filed in this suit”.
Their application was accordingly granted yesterday by presiding Justice Auta who also fixed June 8 to commence full-blown hearing on the substantive matter.
Canvassing their arguments through a 27-paragraphed affidavit that was deposed to by the 4th plaintiff, Barrister Christopher Green, the applicants maintained that arresting them on the basis of a suit that was hitherto filed before Justice O.E Abang of the Lagos High Court, by the Registered Trustees of the National Association of Nigeria Footballers, NANF, would amount to an act of illegality since the said suit was accordingly withdrawn and struck out on October 25, 2010.
They argued that a purported bench warrant that was previously issued against them by the Lagos High Court became invalid from the day trial Justice Abang struck out the suit after the issues in controversy were amicably settled out of court by all the affected parties.