Legal Nigeria

Funso Williams: Ex-police chief, SAN urge court to dismiss suit

A former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Sunday Ehindero and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Muiz Banire, have urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit seeking to re-open investigation into the murder of Funsho Williams.
They said the court lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate the suit, and that they should not have been joined as defendants.
The plaintiff, Bashir Junaid, prayed the court to order fresh investigation into the murder of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, who was killed in his Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi home on July 27, 2006.
He joined the Inspector-General of Police, Ehindero, Banire and seven others in the suit.
But Banire, who was represented yesterday by Lanre Abegunrin, filed a notice of preliminary objection.
He sought an order striking out or dismissing the suit, or in the alternative, striking out his name as a defendant.
Abegunrin said besides the fact that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case, the suit was not wrongly filed.
“The instant action was not initiated by due process of law and discloses no reasonable cause of action against the eight defendant (Banire),” he said.
According to him, Banire is not a proper party to the suit and should not have been joined.
“We urge the court to dismiss the suit as it is frivolous, baseless and a waste of the court’s time,” he added.
Ehindero, represented by Mr E. O. Tela, said the plaintiff has no locus standi to file the suit, therefore, the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain it.
He said the action also discloses no cause of action against the former police chief.
“The suit is vexatious and academic. We urge the court to dismiss it or strike it out, or in the alternative strike out the third defendant’s name,” Tela said.
But the plaintiff’s lawyer Tunji Adesheye, urged the court to dismiss the preliminary objections.
He said Banire’s notice of preliminary objection did not follow due process of law and was therefore incompetent as it was not filed with an affidavit.
The plaintiff’s lawyer said the defendant had not shown any intention to defend the suit.
Junaid, a cemetery attendant, was arrested and detained by the police during preliminary investigation into Williams’ murder.
He filed the suit seeking an order of mandamus compelling the IGP to conduct fresh investigation into the murder.
The applicant sought N5billion as exemplary damages for his “illegal” detention in connection with the murder.
In his 48-paragraph statement of claim, he alleged that the police disregarded his freely made statement, which he said could have assisted them to know who killed Williams.
He claimed that the concrete evidence that he tendered was discarded by the Criminal Investigating Department, Alagbon, Lagos.
Junaid accused the police of compromise by allegedly allowing Banire to change his statement after he had been cautioned.
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia directed that hearing notices be issued to the other parties ahead of further hearing on November 24.
The Nation