By Henry Ojelu
A businesswoman, Mrs. Uche Ukpaka, has accused the Federal Government of using the Special Fraud Unit, SFU, of the Nigeria Police unlawfully to detain her husband, Mr. Ignatus Ukpaka, over a civil dispute pertaining to a land in Banana Island, Lagos, which a Lagos State High Court has declared him owner.
Mrs. Ukpaka said her husband, who is suffering an underlying ailment was arrested in Lagos by the Police on March 8, 2022, under the pretext of executing a warrant of arrest for a criminal charge largely over the ownership of the same land, which is the third time Federal Government was bringing a charge against him before a Federal High Court Lagos.
She said Federal Government had brought a charge over the land before a Federal High Court in 2014 against her husband and that the court declared the charge illegal, unconstitutional and discharged him.
She added that surprisingly, Federal Government in 2018 brought another charge over the same land against her husband and the court in 2019 dismissed the charge, declaring it unconstitutional and unlawful and also discharged her husband.
Ukpaka said to settle the issue of the ownership of the land, the husband sued the Federal Government and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, at Lagos High Court.
According to her, after five years of litigation, trial judge in the case, Justice Oyekan-Abdullia in judgment delivered in September, 2020, declared the husband and his company, owners of the same land and ordered FG to facilitate their perfection of title documents of the land.
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She noted that in breach of rule of law, FG has refused to abide by the judgment of the Lagos State High Court and the two earlier judgments of the Federal High Court and has now brought a charge for the third time on the same land before a Federal High Court.
According to her, “In further breach of the rights of my husband without serving him any notice of the new charge, policemen from the SFU under the instruction of the complainant, NDIC, stormed my husband’s office on March 8, 2022, forcefully took him away, detained him in their cell and forcibly brought him to court on March 9, 2022, under a warrant of arrest that stated that he didn’t come to court on November 26, 2021, when the court didn’t even sit.
“On that March 9, 2022, when he was brought to court, the court also did not sit but the police refused to let my husband go and are still detaining him. It is really surprising what an ordinary Nigeria citizen is going through for owning a land which agents of the Federal Government are interested in.
“My husband has serious health issues and despite our appeals to the Police to release him since no court order was issued for his detention, they have continued to detain him. It is clear that the FG has no regards for the court, so we are warning that those illegally detaining him on the order people from ‘above’ will be held reliable if anything happens to him.”
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