LawPavilion Online


Back

CHAIRMAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE NATIONAL DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY (NDLEA) HEADQUARTERS, LAGOS & ORS v. MR. CHRISTIAN UMEH & ANOR

(2018) LPELR-44502(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 18th day of May, 2018

SC.280/2015


Before Their Lordships

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUMAI BAYANG AKA'AHS Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMINA ADAMU AUGIE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

1. CHAIRMAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE NATIONAL DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY (NDLEA) HEADQUARTERS, LAGOS
2. ZONAL COMMANDER, NATIONAL DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY (NDLEA), PORT HARCOURT
3. AREA COMMANDER, NATIONAL DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY (NDLEA) ABA - Appellant(s)

AND

1. MR. CHRISTIAN UMEH
2. MR. CHIKA ANAKWE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Civil Procedure.
FACTS:
The suit leading to this appeal originated as an application by Mr. Christian Umeh (now respondent) for the enforcement of his fundamental rights brought pursuant to the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 1979.

At the trial Court, Mr. Chika Anakwe who was 1st Respondent, had written a petition to the National Committee on Financial Crimes, which had led to the arrest of Mr Christain Umeh. The learned trial Judge in his judgment analysed the affidavit evidence and made the following findings:
"I find it established by evidence before me that the 1st respondent caused the arrest and detention of the applicant for about one month without justifiable cause. Of course, the applicant maintained that he was severely tortured and dehumanized during his detention and he took ill. Further, the respondents carted away the applicant's goods from his shop when there was no Court order empowering them to do so. I am therefore in agreement with learned counsel to the applicant that these were infractions of the fundamental rights of the applicant as enshrined under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The respondents took the law into their hands and subjected the applicant to undeserved trauma as graphically presented in paragraphs 15, 16, 17, 24 and 27 of the facts relied upon in this application. I accept the submission of applicant's counsel that failure of the respondents to justify their acts against the applicant, entitles him to award of compensatory and exemplary damages. See: Olisa Agbakoba v. The Director SSS (1994) 6 NWLR (Pt.351) 475: Ekpu v. A.G. Federal (1998) 1 HRLRA 391 and Section 35(6) of the Constitution. 
In view of my findings in this suit, I hereby grant reliefs (i), (ii), (iii) (v) and (vi) prayed for by the applicant. For purpose of clarity regarding relief (v), the respondents are ordered jointly and severally to pay the sum of ???4.2 million to the applicant for his goods which they unlawfully carried away, except they can return the goods intact ............ I award against the respondents in favour of the applicant, exemplary damages in the sum of ???800,000.00 (Eight hundred thousand Naira only)."

The Respondents, with the exception of the 1st Respondent were aggrieved and appealed against the judgment of the trial Court. The 1st Respondent at the trial Court was made 2nd Respondent in the Notice of Appeal. The appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal, Owerri on 28 November, 2014, thus prompting a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the Appellants' issue one as follows:
Granted the explicit words of the form 16 placed before the Court below, the appellants' appeal can rightly be held to be incompetent.

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the appeal was struck out for being incompetent.


Read Full Judgment