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PRINCE PHILIPS ADE-OJO & ORS v. GOKE MAKANJUOLA & ORS

(2019) LPELR-47962(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Tuesday, the 2nd day of July, 2019

CA/L/499/2014


Before Their Lordships

TOM SHAIBU YAKUBU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

UGOCHUKWU ANTHONY OGAKWU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

TOBI EBIOWEI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

1. PRINCE PHILIPS ADE-OJO
2. MRS. ALICE ADE-OJO
3. MR. ADESUYI - Appellant(s)

AND

1. GOKE MAKANJUOLA
2. THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, LAGOS STATE POLICE COMMAND
3. THE AREA COMMANDER, AREA H COMMAND, OGUDU
4. MR. AJAYI (IPO) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on breach of right to personal liberty.
FACTS:
This appeal is against the judgment of the High Court of Lagos State in SUIT NO. M/490/2012: GOKE MAKANJUOLA vs. THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, LAGOS STATE COMMAND & ORS.

At the High Court, the 1st Respondent was the Applicant while the Appellants were the 4th-6th Respondents and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents were the 1st-3rd Respondents. The reliefs claimed by the 1st Respondent at the High Court were as follows:
"a. A DECLARATION that the continual arrest and detention of the applicant without trial is in contravention of the Applicant's right to personal liberty.
b. A DECLARATION that the continual threat to arrest and detain the Applicant without trial until they submit to the desire of the 4th and 5th Respondent by the officers and agents of the 1st 2nd and 3rd Respondents is in contravention of the Applicant's right to personal liberty as guaranteed by Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999
c. AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the 1st - 3rd Respondents whether by themselves, their officers, Agents and or Representatives from further arresting, detaining, harassing, intimidating or otherwise depriving in any manner whatsoever the Applicant of his personal liberty and freedom in connection with the transaction use and work in the property located at No.4 Jossy Castro Street Bariga Lagos.
d. AN INTERIM ORDER restraining the 1st - 3rd Respondents whether by themselves, their officers, Agents and or Representatives from further arresting, detaining, harassing, intimidating or otherwise depriving in any manner whatsoever the Applicant of his personal liberty and freedom in connection with the transaction, use and work in the property located at No. 4 Jossy Castro Street Bariga Lagos.
e. AN ORDER directing the Respondents jointly and or severally to pay to the Applicant the sum of Two Million Naira (N2,000,000) as damages for the continued threat of detention and or a violation of the Applicants right to freedom of movement and right to personal dignity."

The grounds upon which the reliefs were sought were:
"1. By virtue of Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty.
2. By virtue of Article 6 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement)Act Cap A9 LFN 2004
3. The detention and continued threat of detention of the Applicant on the 4th of April, 2nd of May, without bringing the applicant employees before any Court of competent jurisdiction despite the fact that there are numerous Courts within 40km radius from the Respondents office is an indication of threat and/or likelihood of infringement by the Respondents of the Applicants rights as protected in Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 6 of the African Charter on Peoples and Human Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP A9 LFN 2004.
4. That the 4th Respondent's intention is to use the 1st to 3rd Respondent's officers to sit as an appeal over the judgment in suit No.ID. 3699/96 delivered by Hon. Justice Y.O. Idowu (Mrs) on the 23rd day of September 2005."

The parties filed and exchanged processes at the High Court and the application was heard on their affidavit evidence. 

In its judgment which was delivered on 21st March, 2014, the High Court held that the 2nd-4th Respondents (the Police officials) exercised their discretion properly in investigating the allegations made against the 1st Respondent and therefore did not infringe the 1st Respondent's fundamental right to personal liberty. It further held that it was the Appellants that infringed the 1st Respondent's fundamental right to personal liberty by instigating and prompting the Police to arrest and detain the 1st Respondent. It consequently entered judgment in favour of the 1st Respondent against the Appellants only. 

Aggrieved by the decision of the High Court, the Appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the following issues:
"1. Whether the 1st Respondent's action is cognisable under the procedure for enforcement of fundamental rights.
2. Whether the lower Court was correct in its decision that the Appellants infringed the 1st Respondent's fundamental right to personal liberty."

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the Court allowed the appeal and reversed the decision of the High Court.


Read Full Judgment