By Shalom A. Oludele, Abuja
A Federal Capital Territory High Court, Nyanya, on Thursday, restrained the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), its Commandant-General (C-G), Mr Ahmed Audi, and others from further harassing a contractor, Mr Christian Igbo, over a completed contract.
Justice Edward Okpe, in a judgment, also ordered the security agency to pay Igbo over N29 million, being balance of the contract sum legitimately awarded and executed by him.
The applicant had, in an originating motion on notice marked: CV/2115/2023 and filed by Pascal Obioha, sued the NSCDC, the C-G, ACG Fabian Ejezie (Finance) and Mpamugo Ifeanyi Bartholomew as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.
Igbo also joined Victor Olarenwaju, Pastor Kukuyi (Accountant General Staff in Charge of CPO), and Chukwuemeka Okeke as 5th to 7th defendants in the suit dated and filed Jan. 24.
The applicant, a businessman and managing director of Davenchris Ventures LTD, IB-Technicals LTD and Chrisreubben Enterprises, sought seven reliefs which include an order to enforce his fundamental human rights of freedom, personal liberty, fair hearing and human dignity as guaranteed by Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution.
“A declaration that the continuous threat to life, attempt to arrest and detain the applicant under the instructions of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th respondents who are staff, officials and/or agent of the 1st and 2nd respondents on a purely civil transaction of award and execution of contract by the applicant for the 1st and 2nd respondents which has no criminal element is illegal, unconstitutional and against the provisions of Chapter IV, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. Cap. A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and is therefore Illegal, ultra-vires and unconstitutional.
“An order of this Honourable court directing the respondents to pay the applicant the balance of the contract sum legitimately awarded and executed by the applicant for the 1st and 2nd respondents totaling N29,360,697.00 (Twenty-Nine Million, Three Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety Seven Naira) without any unlawful interference and the use of undue influence to frustrate the payment of the said money to the applicant by the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and the 7th respondents.
“An order of perpetual injunction, restraining all the respondents from further threat to life; attempt to arrest, detain, intimidate the applicant and/or his family members either by themselves or by any enforcement agent and/or intruding on the applicant’s privacy or business premises.”
He also sought a damages of N200 million severally and jointly paid by the respondents for the unlawful threat to his life, among others.
Giving the grounds why his reliefs should be granted, Igbo averred that he executed the said contracts and the respondents paid part-payment of the contract sum into his companies accounts amounting to over N23 million (N23,887,154.89), remaining the balance of N29,360,697.00
“At the receipt of the said part-payment of the contract sum, the applicant started receiving threatening calls from the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th respondents who are the officials of the 1st and 2nd respondents that the money that was paid into his accounts should be withdrawn and be brought to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th respondents for sharing on no justifiable and/or cogent reasons.
“The applicant, amidst entreaties, threats, attempts to arrest, detain him stood his ground for explanations why part-payment that entered into his companies account owed him for the executed contracts in favour of his companies should be withdrawn and be given to them for sharing,” he said.
Igbo said the officers insisted on their unlawful and unwarranted demands from him.
“The respondents ganged up to deprive and frustrate the applicant from getting the balance of the contract sum which he has excellently and dully executed unless the said part-payment is withdrawn and shared amongst them,” he added.
He alleged that the officers threatened to arrest and detain him until he parted with the money.
Although the respondents were represented in court by Evelyn Charles-Fyanya, they did not file any counter affidavit.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Okpe held that where an application was not controverted by a party, averments therein would be deemed to have been admitted by the party.
“It is my candid views to grant the reliefs, more especially where there is no counter affidavit filed,” he said, saying such was the law.
The judge consequently granted reliefs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the applicant.