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Apo killings: Court grants IG freedom to prosecute suspects

Posted by By Ise-Oluwa Ige on 2005/07/12 | Views: 293 |

Apo killings: Court grants IG freedom to prosecute suspects


AN Abuja high court sitting at Wuse Zone 5, yesterday held that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero has legal powers to initiate criminal proceedings in his own name against any person before any court in the country.

ABUJA— AN Abuja high court sitting at Wuse Zone 5, yesterday held that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero has legal powers to initiate criminal proceedings in his own name against any person before any court in the country.

The high court judge, Justice Ishaq Bello who handed down the verdict also dismissed an objection by an embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Danjuma Ibrahim challenging the powers of the Inspector-General of Police to initiate criminal proceedings against him.

Danjuma and five others, it would be recalled, were indicted by the Mike Okiro-led Police Board of Inquiry which investigated the circumstances surrounding the last month’s gruesome murder of six civilians in Abuja.

The five others are the Divisional Police Officer of the Garki Police Station, Mr Othman Abdusalam, Leader of Ambush Squad, Alpha Series, Mr Nichola Zakaria (ASP) and a Police Corporal, Mr Ezekiel Azeneje, Baba Emmanuel and one Sadiq Salami.

Upon the recommendation of the Okiro panel, the IGP invoked his powers under section 23 of the Police Act and charged them to court.

But before they could be arraigned, Mr Danjuma brought an application challenging the legal powers of the IGP to initiate criminal proceedings against any person at all before a high court.

Danjuma, had contended that by virtue of section 174 of the 1999 constitution, the Inspector-General of Police could only prosecute cases in court on behalf of the Attorney-General but has no legal power to initiate criminal proceedings against any person in any court in the country.

He had contended that section 174 of the 1999 constitution exclusively empowered only the attorney-general to initiate criminal proceedings against any person before any court in Nigeria.

Danjuma had also challenged the proof of evidence attached to the charge preferred against him, saying the proof of evidence did not support the charges preferred against him.

He also raised objection to his trial describing it as an abuse of court processes.

But the police had submitted that by the combined effect of section 23 of Police Act, section 98 of the Federal Capital Territory high court rules and section 174 of the 1999 constitution, it has the legal powers to initiate criminal proceedings in any court of law so far the attorney-general has not commenced one.

The police also attacked other legs of the objection while replying Danjuma on his objection.

Ruling on the legal dispute, Justice Bello held that while it was clear that section 174 (a) of the 1999 constitution gives the Federation attorney-general to initiate criminal proceedings against persons, the same section 174 (b) provides that "the Federation Attorney-General shall have powers to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other authority or person.

The judge further held that by the combined effect of section 23 of the Police Act and section 98 of the Federal Capital Territory high court rules, the Inspector-General of Police is given powers to initiate criminal proceedings against any person as envisaged under section 174 (b) of the 1999 constitution.

Justice Bello consequently held that there was nothing wrong with the step taken by the police so far to initiate criminal proceedings against Mr Danjuma and five others over the Abuja killings, having investigated the circumstances surrounding the extra-judicial murder.

His words: "as long as the Attorney General and Minister for Justice has not initiated similar proceeding, the complainant (Ehindero) has the power to do so.

"The applicant has failed to prove before me that the AGF has taken or initiated criminal proceedings in this same matter.

"The setting up of a judicial panel of inquiry can not be said to be initiation of criminal proceeding.

"I do not see how the setting up of the judicial panel of inquiry had deprived the complainant from initiating this criminal proceeding."



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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown