The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Senator Dino Melaye, and Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, to honor the Police invitation of October 5, 2018, in connection with the protest staged by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Senator Saraki, alongside Senator Ben Bruce and Senator Dino Melaye, had accused the police of alleged harassment during a protest in October 2018.
The lawmakers and some chieftains of the PDP had staged a protest to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, demanding free and fair conduct of the 2019 general elections.
They carried placards which read: “Police is an arm of APC”, “We demand free and fair elections”, among other inscriptions.
They were on their way to the Force Headquarters, when Policemen dispersed them with teargas.
The Police stated that the applicants and about 100 hoodlums riotously blocked the Shehu Shagari Way, preventing motorist and other road users going about their lawful duties for several hours.
They further claimed that they forcefully attempted to enter into the Police Headquarters, and became totally hostile.
They also said that they rushed violently in an attempt to force their way into the Force Headquarters, to cause damage to Police equipment and government property.
The Police said that they were warned to disperse, but they refused, and the Police had to use the minimal force allowed by law to disperse them.
The police had invited the three senators involved in the protest, for a chat afterwards but they did not honour the invitation.
The senators, however, filed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit before the Federal High Court against the General Inspector of Police.
They sought a court order declaring their invitation by the police as illegal, unconstitutional, and a gross violation of their rights, as guaranteed by Sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution, as well as Article 11 of the African Charter on Peoples’ and Human Rights.
The lawmakers also prayed the court to direct payment of N5 million to them by the respondent as exemplary damages arising from their humiliation, intimidation, and harassment, as well as the unlawful attempt to arrest them.
However, delivering judgment on Thursday, Justice Okon Abang held that the suit lacked merit, as the applicants ought to have filed separate suits.
He added that none of them personally deposed to affidavits in support of their application.
The judge held that when an applicant was in custody, a person who has personal knowledge of the facts or has been informed can depose to an affidavit.
He also stated that where a crime was alleged to have been committed, the police have a duty to invite such persons.
The judge, therefore, ordered that the police’s invitation extended to the applicants on October 6 and 8, 2018 remained valid.