By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”The Federal High Court sitting in Benin has set aside an order of an Abuja magistrate court for the arrest of the Action Congress lawmaker representing Akoko-Edo North Constituency in the Edo State House of Assembly Mr. Kabiru Adjotu.
Justice Chukwura Nnamani, in his ruling, described as â€œvery narrowâ€ the issue in the matter brought before the court.
According to Justice Nnamani, the submissions and counter submissions by counsel to the parties in the case, alluding to godfatherism in politics as to why the applicant was charged in Abuja and warrant of arrest directed against him, was immaterial to the court and considered them extraneous.
He berated the magistrate court in Wuse, Abuja, for entertaining the case which he noted should have been handled in Edo State where the incident occurred and for which the case was brought before it.
The judge however ordered that in the interest of justice, peace and order, the applicant should make himself available to the Commissioner of Police, Edo State within seven days of the court order .
He also charged the Commissioner of Police to take immediate steps to charge the applicant within 48 hours in a court within Igarra, headquarters of Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the state or the nearest court to the area if he still deems it necessary to charge him to court.
Justice Nnamani further declared: â€œI find the issue in this matter very narrow. The applicant in this case is an honourable member of Edo State House of Assembly alleged to have conspired with 26 others relating to possession of firearms which all the parties agreed was committed at Igarra, Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.
â€œInstead of the accused being charged in any of the magistrate courts within Igarra, Akoko Edo Local Government Area where the offence was alleged to have been committed, he was charged in a court in Abuja. The question now becomes, why Abuja, instead of any of the magistrate courts within the area where the offence was committed?â€
He warned members of the judiciary not to allow themselves to be willing tools for anybody, be they politicians or otherwise, adding â€œit is trite principle of law that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be doneâ€
â€œThis is not to say that the applicant should not face the law or the police should not discharge its civic responsibilities, no, all this court is saying is that accused should be charged in the appropriate court.
And the appropriate court or convenient court for both the accused and defendant is where he is ordinarily resident, caries on business or where the offence occurredâ€ the judge declared.