BusinessCommercial Law

Court restrains Babalola, Police from arresting company directors over medical equipment contract

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Tuesday August 9, 2022, restrained the founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti(ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola SAN, and the police to arrest the staff and directors of a company, JNC International Ltd, over the supply of medical equipment contract gone sour, pending the determination of a fundamental human rights suit filed before it.

Also joined with Aare Babalola in the restriction order is ABUAD, the Inspector-General of Police, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2 Command, Lagos, the Commissioner of Police, Ekiti State, and the Rapid Response Squad, Ekiti State.

The order followed an ex-parte application filed and argued on behalf of the company and its directors by Ebun-Olu Adegbooruwa, SAN.

Specifically, Justice T. Ringim directed all the parties to maintain the status quo ante bellum before the filing of the case in court pending the hearing and final determination of the Motion on Notice.I

In the suit filed on August 8, 2022, the Applicants are seeking amongst others the following reliefs from the court:

  •  A DECLARATION that the 1st – 3rd Respondents are not entitled to arrest, detain or in any other manner restrict the liberties of the 1st – 4th Applicants, in flagrant violation of the 1st – 4th Applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under section 35 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
  • A DECLARATION that the arrest and detention of the 1st and 2nd Applicant on August 3, 2022, by the 1st – 3rd Respondents, their agents, servants, officers or otherwise, in lieu or in place of Director(s) of JNC International Limited, the 5th Applicant, are unlawful, illegal and constitute a flagrant violation of the 1st and 2nd Applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 35, 36, 41 and 46 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 6, 9 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and therefore unconstitutional, null and void.
  • A DECLARATION that the arrest and detention of the 1st and 2nd Applicants from August 3, 2022 till August 6, 2022, by the 1st – 3rd Respondents, their agents, servants, officers or otherwise constitute a flagrant violation of the 1st and 2nd Applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 35, 36, 41 and 46 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 6, 9 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and therefore is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
  • A DECLARATION that the detention, confinement and incarceration of the 1st and 2nd Applicants from August 3, 2022 till August 6, 2022, by the 1st – 3rd Respondents, their agents, servants, privies, officers or otherwise howsoever without bringing the 1st and 2nd Applicants before a court of law is a clear violation of the 1st and 2nd Applicants’ fundamental human rights guaranteed under section 34, 35, 36, 41 and 46(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 6, 9 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
  • A DECLARATION that the issued invitation letter dated 26th July 2022 by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents to the Directors of the 5th Applicant and others subsequent, at the instance, behest and/or instigation of the 4th – 5th Respondents, jointly or severally, in respect of commercial and/ or civil transactions/dispute between the 5th Applicant and the 4th – 5th Respondents, constitutes a flagrant violation of the 3rd and 4th Applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 35 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

Aare Afe Babalola SAN

  • A DECLARATION that the threat of further invitation, arrest and detention of the 3rd and 4th Applicants by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents through their agents, servants, officers or otherwise howsoever at the instance, behest and/or instigation of the 4th – 5th Respondents, in respect of commercial and/ or civil transactions/dispute between the 5th Applicant and the 4th – 5th Respondents, constitutes a flagrant violation of the 3rd and 4th Applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 35 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
  • A DECLARATION that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents are not entitled to invite and/ or arrest, detain or in any other manner restrict the liberties and freedoms of the 1st – 4th Applicants on account of commercial and/ or civil transactions/dispute between the 5th Applicant and the 4th – 5th Respondents, in flagrant violation of the 1st – 4th Applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 35, 36 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 6, 7 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.
  • A DECLARATION that the 1st – 4th Applicants are entitled to their liberties and freedoms without let or hindrance from the Respondents, in respect of commercial and/ or civil transactions/dispute between the 5th Applicant and the 4th – 5th Respondents, in the exercise of the fundamental rights of the 1st – 4th Applicants guaranteed under sections 34, 35, 36 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) and Articles 4, 5, 6, 9 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990
  • A DECLARATION that the 1st – 4th Applicants, jointly and severally, are entitled to decline to participate in any investigative activities, meetings, conferences, dialogues or forum convened or summoned by the 1st – 3rd Respondents in respect of commercial and/ or civil transactions/dispute between the 5th Applicant and the 4th – 5th Respondents, without any threat to their lives, liberties and freedoms, in exercise of the 1st – 4th Applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 33, 35, 36, and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 6, 7 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
  • A DECLARATION that any and all undertakings, forcefully extracted under duress from the Applicants by the 1st -3rd Respondents at the behest and instigation of the 4th and 5th Respondents in respect of commercial and/ or civil transactions/dispute between the 5th Applicant and the 4th – 5th Respondents, constitute a flagrant violation of the 1st – 4th Applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 33, 35, 36, and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 6, 7 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and they are therefore illegal, null, void and unenforceable.
  • A DECLARATION that the forceful invasion of the office and property of the 5th Applicant situate at 30, Raymond Njoku Street, Off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State on August 3, 2022 by the 1st -3rd Respondents, their agents, servants or associates and threat of occupation thereof and disruption of the interest of the 5th Applicant in the property, constitutes a flagrant violation of the 5th Applicant’s fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 43 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 14 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
  • A DECLARATION that the 4th – 5th Respondents, jointly and or severally, are not entitled to set the law in motion against the Applicants, through the use, employ and recruitment of the 1st – 3rd Respondents, their agents, servants, officers or otherwise, to harass, intimidate or in any manner whatsoever violate the fundamentals rights of the Applicants as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
  • A DECLARATION that the constitutional and statutory duties of the 1st – 3rd Respondents do not cover or extend to intervention in commercial/ civil transactions willingly entered into by citizens and therefore are not entitled to forceful invasion of the premises and property of the 5th Applicant, or to invite, arrest or detain the 1st – 4th Applicants on account of the 5th Applicant’s civil transactions/ dispute with the 4th – 5th Respondents.
  • AN INJUNCTION restraining the 1st – 3rd Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from further arrest and detention of the 1st and 2nd Applicants.
  • AN INJUNCTION restraining the 1st – 3rd Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from compelling the 3rd and 4th Applicants, either by threat of arrest, arrest, detention or prosecution to attend any meeting, interview or honor any invitation whatsoever in any manner hindering the full exercise of the 3rd and 4th Applicants’ personal liberties and fundamental rights as guaranteed under Sections 35, 36 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Articles 6, 7 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 on account of the 5th Applicant’s civil transactions/ dispute with the 4th – 5th Respondents.
  • AN INJUNCTION restraining the 1st – 3rd Respondents, whether by themselves, agents or servants or otherwise from invading the premises and property of the 5th Applicant at 30, Raymond Njoku Street, Off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, on the behest of the 4th – 5th Respondents.
  • AN INJUNCTION, restraining the Respondents whether by themselves, their servants, agents, privies or otherwise howsoever, from enforcing, executing, implementing or in any other manner deploying or giving effect to any and all undertakings, forcefully extracted under duress from the Applicants by the 1st -3rd Respondents at the behest and instigation of the 4th and 5th Respondents in respect of commercial and/ or civil transactions/dispute between the 5th Applicant and the 4th – 5th Respondents.
  • AN INJUNCTION restraining the 4th – 5th Respondents whether by themselves or their agents, solicitors or otherwise howsoever from instigating the 1st – 3rd Respondents and any law enforcement agencies in Nigeria against the Applicants in respect the 5th Applicant’s civil transactions/ dispute with the 4th – 5th Respondents.
  • AN INJUNCTION AN INJUNCTION restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from further violating the Fundamental Rights of the Applicants through invitation, arrest, threat of arrest, detention, invasion of property or in any manner whatsoever on account of the 5th Applicant’s civil transactions/ dispute with the 4th – 5th Respondents.
  • AN INJUNCTION restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from carrying out any acts or omission which may result in the contravention or likely to contravene the fundamental rights of the Applicants.
  • ONE BILLION NAIRA ONLY being general, aggravated, special and exceptional damages against the Respondents, jointly and/ or severally for the violation of the fundamental rights of the Applicants.
  • ONE HUNDRED MILLION NAIRA ONLY against the 4th – 5th Respondents being the cost of instituting and prosecuting this suit.

In a 74-paragraphs affidavit deposed to by the Managing Director of JNC International, Mrs Clare Omatseye, she narrated how ABUAD l approached the company for the supply and installation of medical equipment for the use of the College of Medicine of the University and the said equipment was imported and installed.

However due to alleged inability of the university to guarantee constant electricity supply to power it, an issue of proper maintenance arose, which the company rose up to and resolved, even at great costs to it.

She stated further that in line with the sale agreement between the parties, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN through his law firm gave notice to commence arbitration and an arbitrator was indeed appointed, however the issues were subsequently resolved and the arbitration was called off.

However, the company alleged it was shocked to receive an invitation letter from the Rapid Response Squad of the Ekiti State Police Command at the invitation of Afe Babalola University, leading to the visit of the company premises by policemen and officers of the university on August 3, 2022, whereupon two members of the staff of the company were forcefully driven away from Lagos to Ekiti in the dead of the night.

On their way to Ekiti, the police convoy allegedly ran into armed robbers around 2am resulting into a fierce shootout and the two members of staff of the company were caught in the fire power and all pleas to allow them to lodge in a hotel in Osun State were rebuffed and they were forcefully driven to Ekiti State and kept in custody at the instigation of Afe Babalola University and Aare Afe Babalola, SAN.

The police in Ekiti kept the members of staff of the company in custody as a ransom for the appearance of directors of the company and they were told that they would only be released upon the directives of Aare Afe Babalola, until late Saturday August 6, 2022 when they were eventually released. The company expressed the fear that unless the court intervenes urgently the police will still carry out its threat of invading the office of the company and may arrest and detain its directors upon a purely civil matter for which Aare Afe Babalola, SAN himself had previously initiated arbitration proceedings.

The applicants claimed that Aare Afe Babalola, SAN was instigating and using policemen to torment the Applicants and to force them into giving undertakings under duress.

The case was subsequently adjourned to 18th August, 2022, for hearing of the Motion on Notice.

Dear readers, we really need your support to keep on serving you with authoritative, truthful, and juicy stories everyday. For your support, please reach out to the editor @[email protected]

Related Articles

Back to top button
%d bloggers like this: