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Rector Maritime Academy of Nigeria took right action in human right case -Court

Justice Okon A. Okon of the High Court of Ibiono , Uyo Akwa Ibom, on Wednesday  dismissed a suit by Mr. Edet Okon Okpo against Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Commodore Duja Effedua(Rtd.).

Clearing the Rector of any wrong-doing, Justice Okon said Effedua was right as a citizen, to seek the intervention of the security agencies against any form of threat to his life; be it in form of blackmail.

Filed with suit No. HIT/FHR/12/2020, the case is between Edet Okon Okpo (Applicant) and Commodore Emmanuel Effedua (Rtd) – Rector Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron (1st Respondent), Inspector Patrick Edet (IPO. Police Zonal Head Quarters, Zone 6) (2nd Respondent) and Assistant Inspector General; and AIG of Police, Calabar , as the 3rd Respondent.

The Rector had invited the Police and other security agencies to investigate and make public people who have been behind series of blackmail attempts and smear publications against him and his management team in the recent years past.

Therefore, in his judgment, Justice Okon said: “I find no credible evidence to find that the 1st Respondent instigated the arrest and detention of the Applicant (Edet Okpo) beyond sending his petition to the 2nd and 3rd Respondents to investigate in exercise of his civic duties to report possible commission of crime to the police for investigation.

“Even the applicant has admitted that the 1st Respondent received threatening messages which entailed blackmail and criminal extortion etc. Generally, it is the duty of citizens to report case of commission of crime to the police for investigation and what happens after such report is entirely the responsibility of the police.

“The citizens cannot be held culpable for doing their civic duty unless it is shown that it is done mala fide. That I find no evidence of mala fide on the part of the 1st Respondent in writing his petition to the third Respondent which petition was not even directly written against the Applicant.

“It is the decision of the Court that the 1st Respondent is found not liable for any evisceration of the right of the Applicant as asserted by the Applicant in the detention of the Applicant by the 2nd and 3rd Respondent from 17th to 23rd July 2020 in breach of section 35 (4) and (5) and Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)”.

It would be recalled that an ongoing case with Suit No. FHC/CA/51C/2020 between Inspector General of Police and Edet Ekpo (Defendant) was pending before the Federal High Court, Calabar, before the defendant instituted Suit No. HIT/FHR/12/2020, which came up for hearing on the 16th February 2022; in which the Uyo High Court Division delivered a Ruling on the trial within trial.

At the hearing, the Judge admitted the confessional statement of the defendant in evidence.

According to the ruling of the Court, the Defendant had on 24th November, 2021, denied making the said confessional statement, which compelled the Court to conduct a trial within trial to ascertain the admissibility of the confessional statement or otherwise.

The case has therefore been adjourned to the 15th March, 2022 for continuation of the trial.

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