Court throws out N500m suit against Police

An Edo State High Court has thrown out N500m fundamental human rights suit filed by Mr. Arisco Osemwegie against the Edo State Police Command.

Mr. Arisco in pursuant of sections 34 and 35 of the Nigeria dragged the police to court over alleged inhuman treatment when he was invited to answer questions on newspaper publications congratulating him on his 2nd year as the self-styled Ogiamien Utantan of Benin Nation.

Other defendants in the suit were the Oliha of Benin, chief Edionwe Oliha, the Esogban of Benin, chief David Edebiri, secretary to the Benin Traditional Council, Mr. Frank Irabor and the Benin Traditional Council.
Counsel to the police, Supretendent Peter Ogwumba argued that Arisco did not deny being the self-styled Ogiamien Utantan.

Ogwumba told the court that such action was tantamount to causing breach of public peace if not well guided, contrary to section 249(5)(d) of the criminal code.

He said Arisco jumped administrative bail by not honouring subsequent invitations.

Counsel to other defendants, Chief Charles Uwensuyi Edosomwan informed the court that Ogiamien was a title whose functions have gone into extinction by virtue of the Benin Traditional Rulers and Chieftaincy law of 1979.

He contended the Arisco’s action of becoming a Regeant over-night and addressing himself as His Royal Majesty Ogiamien Utantan of Benin Nation was an affront to the Oba of Benin because there can be no two Obas in Benin Kingdom.

Counsel to Arisco, Godwin Oaikhena submitted that his client’s fundamental human rights has been breached because the police arrested and detained him for several hours over a newspaper publication wherein his well-wishers congratulated him on his second year anniversary as Ogiamien Utantan.

Delivering judgment on the case, Justice Philip Imoedemhe held that there were no facts to show that the police meted inhuman treatment to Arisco.

Justice Imoedemhe held that the palace of the Oba of Benin acted reasonably by writing to the police authority to investigate those behind the alleged congratulatory messages.

Imoedemhe said the police acted within the purview of its Act by inviting Arisco Osemwegie, obtaining statement and granted him administrative bail in self recognizance.

He dismissed the suit and described it as one aimed at frustrating the investigation and prosecution of the matter relating to the said publication.
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