Court gives police go ahead to arrest celebrated Nigerian pastor Samsom Ayorinde over N118m dud cheques
Lagos, Dec. 11, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court has dismissed the fundamental rights application filed by the Registered Trustees of the World Evangelism Incorporated as well as Prophet Samson Ayorinde and Rev Harold Chinoyerem of the same church. They are seeking to restrain the Nigeria Police from arresting them over the issuance of N118m dud cheques.
Ayorinde and the other applicants had instituted a fundamental rights suit marked D/6724MFHR/2018 before the court seeking a declaration that their harassment, intimidation, threat of arrest, detention and invitation by the police at the instance of some people were a violation of their fundamental rights to personal liberty as guaranteed under sections 34 and 35 of the Nigerian Constitution
The applicants instituted the suit through their lawyer, Emmanuel Benjamin, against Mr Oludare Aturamu; Mrs Kemi Adesanya; Smart Link Property Services; the Commissioner of Police, Lagos; Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Panti, Lagos; the officer in charge of the Assistant Commissioner Section; and Alhaji Aminu of the SCIID, Panti, Lagos, as first to seventh respondents, respectively.
The prophet and the others also urged the court to restrain the police, their agents, privies and servants from inviting, arresting, detaining, harassing and molesting or in any manner infringing on their rights, and an order restraining the police from publishing their names in any police bulletin or any medium for the purpose of declaring them wanted.
The applicants also prayed the court to order the police to pay them the sum of N4m as compensation for the breach of their fundamental rights.
However, the police, in an affidavit filed before the court, urged the court to dismiss the suit.
The counsel for the police, Mr Samsideen Adebesin, averred in the affidavit that the police received a petition from Aturamu, Adesanya and Smart Link Services alleging that Ayorinde obtained a loan of N30m from them sometime in August 2016 for the expansion of his church, with the promise that it would be repayed within two months at an interest rate of 30 per cent.
The police added that the petitioners also alleged that not quite long after the loan was advanced to Ayorinde, he travelled out of the country for medical vacation, only to come back in July 2017, adding that when Ayorinde could not repay the loan, the interest rate was reduced to 22.5 per cent as a mark of good gesture.
The police also stated that Ayorinde was being investigated for a criminal complaint of issuance of dud cheques and upon receiving the complaint, he did not present himself to the cops.
But sometime in August 2017, he volunteered a statement in reaction to the allegation against him.
Dismissing the application, Justice Adesanya held that police could not be restrained from inviting, arresting and detaining the applicants in the course of their investigation.
The judge held that restraining the law enforcement agency from arresting a person alleged to have committed an offence amounted to an abuse of judicial power.
Contrary to the applicants’ claim, the judge held that on the totality of the evidence before the court, there had been no harassment, intimidation, threat of arrest or detention of the applicants.
The court, however, warned the police not to publish the names of the applicants in any police bulletin or any medium for the purpose of declaring them wanted persons.