IGP, Commissioner of Police, DPO Dragged To Court Over Religious Matter

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By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Alhaji Alkali Baba, his Kwara State Command Commissioner of Police, a Divisional Police Officer and two others have been dragged before a Federal High Court, Ilorin, for applying an extra judicial force over a religious scuffle in the State.
In a suit No. FHC/IL/C5/6/2023 filed by Adeleye Smith Esq. on behalf of his clients; Abdullahi Mohamned, Aliu Mazuma for themselves and others in an Islamic Organization in Lafiagi, Kwara State, the IGP is accused of unlawful deprivation, and unconstitutional violation of the applicants’ rights to fair hearing and freedom of religion or belief.
The other two respondents in the suit were one Musa Ndagi and Gimba Alhassan who are members of a rival Islamic sect in Lafiagi and the avowed opponents of the applicant Isamic group in the town.
According to the lawyer, the IGP and his men were challenged in court pursuant to sections 36, 38 and 40 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and articles 1, 2, 8, 10 and 11 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as Order Two Rule 1& 2 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009.
They prayed for six Court’s declarations among others that the continued lock up of the applicants’ mosque, Jama’atu Ahlu Sunnah Salfi-yat, by the police since 12 November 2022 was illegal, unlawful and an unconstitutional violation of the applicsnts’ rights.
Also, that the same continued lock-up of the mosque in Lafiagi since then, constituted a brazen infringement of the applicants’ fundamental rights to fair hearing and freedom of religion and belief or practice and observance guaranteed under Section 36, 38 and 40 of the Constitution of Nigeria.
Also, they asked for an order compelling the IGP and his men jointly and severally to immediately and unconditionally open the mosque as their place of worship forthwith while also asking the court to compel the IGP and his men to pay the sum of N50 million as general damages.
They also asked for a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents jointly and severally or anybody drawing authorities from them by whatsoever name called from further harassing and lock-up of their mosque as a place of worship or violating their rights on any facts connected with or related to the facts of the case.
When the case came up for hearing, Ramat Temim, counsel to Musa Ndagi and Gimba Alhassan, told the court that she was briefed less than twenty four hours before the hearing date in the suit asking the court for an adjournment to study details of the matter.
Also, the Police counsel, A.A Aladejare, said the Divisional Police Officer of Lafiagi who allegedly locked up the mosque had been difficult to contact because of the distance of Lafiagi to Ilorin, the State capital. He also requested for an adjournment to enable him do the contact for briefing.
The presiding judge, Hon. Justice Mohamned Sanni, when the case came up for hearing advised the two sides to think of a possible peaceful resolution of the matter within a shortest possible time beause of its sensitive nature.
He thereafter adjourned for a possible out of court settlement or a resumed hearing on the 15 March 2023.

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