By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has formally dragged the Nigerian Police Force to the Federal High Court over an alleged invasion of his house and killing of four occupants by operatives of the force.
Ejiofor in the legal action instituted on his behalf by Maxwell Okpara, is asking the court for an order to compel police to pay him the sum of N2 billion as compensatory and damages for the burning of his house and shooting of his aged mother by the police at his Oraifite hometown in Anambra State on December 2.
Other defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/135/19 include; Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police, Area Commander, Divisional Police (DPO) in Anambra State, the Nigerian Army, Chief of Army Staff, and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Plaintiff, who claimed to have been called to bar over 17 years ago is asking the court to restrain the respondents, their agents and privies from further harassing, intimidating, threatening his life and destroying his house and other properties.
He further applied for an order of the court stopping the respondents from threatening him with arrest and torture and to compel them to retract the public notice made on December 3, which declared him wanted and to also tender apology to him in five major newspapers and any other form of reparation.
In a 37-paragraph affidavit in support of his fundamental rights enforcement suit, the plaintiff claimed that he was in his Oraifite hometown in Anambra State between November 25 and December 1, for the burial of his late brother, Reverend Louis Ejiofor.
He said further that on December 2, his house was still filled with relatives, friends and well wishers, helping him to evacuate tents, chairs and other materials used for the burial ceremony, when a group of 16 policemen allegedly invaded his house.
In the affidavit deposed to by his immediate elder brother, Evangelist Emeka Ejiofor on his behalf, the plaintiff averred that the police claimed to be looking for suspects involved in an alleged communal clash and that he spoke on phone with the Area Commander promising that he would make himself available on same day by 11a.m.
He further averred that by 10.15am, the same police squad led by the Area Commander, came ahead of the appointed time and violently invaded his ancestral home with sporadic shooting at every living object.
In the confusion that ensued, the plaintiff said that four young men were instantly shot dead while his aged mother sustained gun shot injury from the trigger happy officers .
Ejiofor stated that the dead bodies were evacuated from his house to a market place and burnt there.
He pleaded photographs and video clips showing the alleged wanton destruction of his house by police adding that the photographs and video clips would be tendered during trial.
The plaintiff further averred that on December 3, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State caused a public notice through television stations and other news media that he had been declared wanted without been given adequate time and opportunity to respond to any allegation against him if any.
He therefore urged the court to declare the invasion of his house and subsequent shootings and killing of unarmed civilians as barbaric, wicked, illegal, oppressive and a gross violation of his rights to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing and right to private and family life as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.
Ejiofor further sought court’s declaration that the setting ablaze of all buildings and properties in his Oraifite ancestral home in Ekwusigo Local Government of Anambra State by the police is illegal, barbaric, oppressive, unlawful and amounted to a gross violation of his rights to property as guaranteed by the constitution.
Ejiofor also wants the court to declare that the December 3 public notice by the police declaring him as a wanted person without given in opportunity to respond to any allegation against him if any, is illegal, unconstitutional, unreasonable, null and void as the action violates his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by law.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed the hearing of the suit.