Published below is the full text of statement by CLO today:
On August 12, 2009, a team of about 15 police officers from the zone 11 police Command, Onikan, Lagos, dressed in mufti and led by one Inspector Abraham Ogaba invaded the national secretariat of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) on 13, Soji Adepegba close, Off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, for alleged corruption. During the invasion, several important documents, including the Minutes of the meetings of the organs of the CLO, Project files and Financial documents including laptops, cheque booklets, etc were illegally seized by the Police, after which the office was sealed without a judicial proclamation for nine months. During this period, CLO was sacked from operating its functions or responsibilities to its critical public, leading to accumulation of colossal losses, especially sanctions from its major partners that distanced themselves from the organisation and its activities.
Unfortunately, after nine months (and till date), the police have totally failed to produce even a preliminary report to show how the CLO was defrauded by these officers as alleged in a frivolous petition written to the police by certain disgruntled elements in the organisation who failed to achieve their primitive political interests in the CLO and resorted to cheap blackmail of alleging unfounded corruption against the leaders of the group led by Barrister Titus Mann. In May, 2010, CLO went to a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, to seek a declaration of the court that the actions of the police were illegal, unconstitutional, unlawful and, therefore, null and void. The CLO’s application was judiciously granted by the eminent Justice Charles E. Archibong. On June 2, 2010, when the parties returned to the
court for the hearing of the substantive matter, the court after hearing Mr. Edwin Anikwem (Esq), counsel to the CLO, in addition to its order of May 18, 2010, that the police vacated CLO premises immediately and returned all the materials, property and documents of the CLO criminally and lawlessly seized by the police, ruled that the Nigeria Police Force pays
a compensation of Twenty five Million Naira (N25, 000, 000) to the Registered Trustees of the Civil Liberties Organisation and Two Hundred & Fifty Thousand Naira (N250,000) to the Executive Director of the CLO, comrade Ibuchukwu Ohabuenyi Ezike, for illegally detaining and torturing him for one night.
The Police, not satisfied with the decision of the court, applied for stay of execution to the same court in August, 2010. In March, 2011, the court upheld its June 2, 2010 decision, and ordered the police to respect its judgment of June 2, 2010. No appeal has been instituted by the judgment debtor, the NPF, or its servants or privies or agents till date nor has it obeyed the ruling of the court of June 2, 2010. In order to enforece the order of the court, CLO has applied for Garnishee Orders on Zenith and Spring banks PLC but Zenith bank conspired with the authorities of the Nigeria Police and fraudulently produced a statement of Account that reports that the Police had closed the Accounts about three weeks before the order was served on the bank. The court, in view of the foregoing evidence, freed Zenith bank from the process and dismissed the application of the CLO. Having been frustrated by this ugly develpment, the CLO applied for another Garnishee against the Central Bank of Nigeria. CLO requested the court to garnishee the Statutory Account of the Nigeria Police Force with the CBN. The court upon this application, made an order dated February 2, 2012, on CBN and fixed March 5, 2012 as the return date. The CBN was consequently served. However, at the court on Monday, March 5, 2012, the CBN served the CLO with a questionable affidavit sworn to by one Olarewaju Azeez Bello, Senior Manager, Client Services Office, Banking Operations Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja.
The Affidavit, among others, stated inter alia:
* ”That the account of the Inspector General of Police domiciled with the Central
Bank of Nigeria has a nil balance as at February 27, 2012.
*That a Certified True Copy of the Statement of Account of the Inspector General of
Police between January 1, 2012 and February 27, 2012 showing a nil
balance is herewith attached and marked Annexure ”A.”
* That the CBN is not in a position to comply with the Garnishee Order Nisi in
respect of the case.
* That in view of the facts deposed above, the Order Nisi should not be made
absolute against the bank.
*That I depose to this affidavit in good faith, believing same to be true and
correct in accordance with the Oaths acts 1990.
*Sworn to at the Federal High Court Registry, Lagos, this ….5th…. day
The affidavit/ oath was sworn to before the court’s Commissioner for Oaths, J. UBAHA (MR) and dated March 5, 2012.
In the attached statement of account issued by the bank, the Inspector General of Police’s Account Number was quoted as: 0020185642012. Currency: NGN. Customer : 1856 IGP. Balance at period end: 0.00.
CLO’S INTERPRETATION OF CBN’S AFFIDAVIT & POSITION ON SAME.
After thorough study of the CBN document, CLO makes bold to state as follows:-
* That what we requested the Court to garnishee is not the personal Account of the Inspector General Police but the Statutory Account of the Nigeria Police Force.
*That admittance by the authorities of the Central Bank of Nigeria that the Nigeria Police Force has zero (0.00) balance means the following:
-That the Nigeria Police Force has become bankrupt and, therefore, insolvent.
-That the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force have either squandered or stolen or looted or plundered the treasury of the Force, including statutory allocations for projects, running of the force etc.
* That the CLO strongly frowns at, and hugely condemns the manner in which the CBN and some commercial banks conspire with lawless government agencies to disobey, disrespect and grossly abuse judicial pronouncements or orders, and, thereby, unnecessarily prolong the enhancement of justice and human rights of the citizens as decided by the courts.
In view of the above, CLO calls on the Judiciary/courts to review its approach towards this intrasigent acts of government and its agencies as the hope of the common mass and take radical positions to investigate such conspiracies of the banks and similar institutions so as to get to the root of the matter and where evidence of fraud, abuse and/ or conspiration are/ is established, bring such elements to book. Only this can act as deterrent to other lawless institutions and agencies and help reposition our judicial nay the entire political system.
CLO uses this forum to commend Justice C.E. Archibong for his noble, steadfast, honest, patriotic and disciplined attitude towards the performance of his duties. We make bold to say without fear or favour that Justice Archibong has proved that he is a man of justice and a hater of abuse of human rights, rule of law and due process through the several pro-people judgment he has delivered in favour of the oppressed and unjustly treated citizens. We enjoin him and other radical elements in the judicial in system in Nigeria to remain focused, just and equitable in the discharge of their judicial duties .
Ibuchukwu Ohabuenyi Ezike,
08037875414 & 08027222409.