By Hamilton Nwosa(The New Diplomat’s Head of Polling, Research and data desk)
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday has reportedly granted a restraining order, disallowing the Inspector-General of Police and the Delta State Commissioner of Police from arresting a former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi over allegations of dehumanization of staff of a hotel belonging to him.
The restraining order purportedly barring the IGP, the Delta State Police Commissioner of Police and their agents from arresting the former minister, Gbagi who is a governorship aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in the 2023 Delta governorship poll follows a declaration on Wednesday by the Delta State Police Command, to the effect that Gbagi having failed to honour multiple police invitations over allegations against him, and has no option but to declare him Wanted.
The police said it declared Gbagi, who is a PDP governorship aspirant for the 2023 gubernatorial election in Delta wanted over allegations to the effect that he was reportedly involved in the stripping of his hotel staff naked.
Recall that the Delta police Command had said it resolved to declared Gbagi wanted after failing to honour multiple invitations from the state commissioner of police to explain his alleged involvement in the pending case of assault and stripping of four staff of his Hotel in Effurun, near Warri, Delta state.
Premised on this development, the internet went agog with calls for Gbagi’s inviation by law enforcement agents. In fact, a catalogue of civil society organizations including human rights activists and lawyers, had called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the former minister who served as Minister of State during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s reign.
However, in an exparte motion filed by Olorogun Gbagi’s lawyer, Nkem Okoro, on Monday September 28, 2020, the ex-minister urged the court to restrain the Inspector-General of Police (First Respondent) and the Delta State Police Commissioner (2nd respondent) or their agents from arresting him pending the determination of the case.
Upon hearing the issues, Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of the Federal High Court Abuja granted a restraining order, preventing the IGP, Delta CP and their agents from arresting the ex-minister.
In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1267/2020, which came up on Wednesday September 30, the presiding Judge allegedly premised its order on pending issues and adjourned the case to October 16 for hearing.
A copy of the motion exparte granted by the Abuja court and shown to reporters in Abuja on Wednesday reads among other things thus:
“That Order of Interim is hereby made restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their agents, employees, or by whatever name called, from threatening to arrest and or detain, and/or from arresting and detaining the Applicant pending the hearing and determination of the Applicant’s application for the enforcement of his fundamental rights
“That Leave is hereby granted to the Applicant to serve Originating processes and all other subsequent processes in this matter, on the 2nd Respondent by substituted means.
“That Order is hereby made by this Honourable Court directing that the Originating Processes and all other subsequent processes in this matter be served on the 2 Respondent by substituted means to wit:
“(a) By serving the 2 Respondent, through the 1″ Respondent, the Inspector General of the Police, at the office of the Inspector General of Police, Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Area 11, Garki, Abuja. 4.
“That the Respondents are at liberty if they wish to tie their response jointly and/or severally within 14 days.”
Hon Justice Taiwo subsequently adjourned the case to the 16 of October, 2020 for hearing.