Metro & Crime

Land dispute: Court halts bizman’s arrest by police

Justice Daniel Osiagor of a Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the police not to rearrest a businessman, Ignatius Ukpaka, over a dispute on a parcel of land located in Banana Island owned by him.
Ukpaka was arrested by the police on March 8, 2022 under the guise of executing a warrant of arrest issued by the court and has since then been in detention.
His wife, Uchenna, had raised the alarm last week over his failing health at the SFU detention facility insisting that her husband’s continued detention was illegal as two Federal High Courts had discharged him of the land stealing allegation for which the Federal Government is arraigning him again for the third time.
During the court’s proceedings, Federal Government’s lawyer, E.B. Offiong (SAN) confirmed that Ukpaka was indeed arrested by the police but that he took ill while in custody and was rushed to an undisclosed hospital where he was rejected, following which he was rushed to another hospital.
He added that Ukpaka’s whereabout remains unknown to the police which had detailed an Inspector to keep watch over him while at the second hospital.
Responding, Akpaka’s lawyer, Dr. Charles Mekwunye (SAN) drew the court’s attention to the illegality of the new charge against his client, saying he was never served with the process of the new charges before his arrest.
Mekwunye also told the court that a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court has been filed and that the Federal Government has been served with the motion.
In a short ruling, Justice Osiagor directed the police not to arrest the defendant again since the arrest warrant issued against him has been expended and most importantly, his lawyer has filed an application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the charge.
“The police should allow the defendant to attend to his health. The arrest warrant issued against him has been expended and his lawyer has filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of this court,” Justice Osiagor ruled.
Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to April 7, 2022 for hearing of the preliminary objection filed by Akpaka and other defendants in the matter.

 

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