The Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday said the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Inuwa, and Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor, have a case to answer in a suit instituted by former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a ruling, joined Inuwa and Mrakpor in a suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/1267/2020, as 3rd and 4th respondents respectively.
Citing the provisions of Section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Law, the judge said: “A public officer can be joined in a suit where it is believed that the fundamental rights of an applicant may have been contravened during the course of discharging their duties.”
According to Taiwo, there is no doubt that in law, the person being sought to be joined, though he is the CP of Delta State, can be sued in his personal capacity.
Drawing an inference from the Supreme Court decision, he said “necessary parties are those who are not only interested in the subject matter of a proceeding but also, who in the absence, the proceeding will not be fairly dealt with.”
He, therefore, said it was his considered view that the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General in Delta State could be sued in their personal capacity.
Taiwo ruled: “The fundamental rights in the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be deployed against anyone by an applicant who claims that his fundamental rights has been, is being or likely to be contravened by any person, even when he acts in his official capacity.
“After due consideration of the processes filed for and against the application, I find merit in the application to joinder, and I hereby order that Hafiz Mohammed Inuwa and the Attorney General, Delta State be joined as the third and fourth respondents in this matter.”
Taiwo directed the applicant to file and serve the amended processes within seven days of the order.
Taiwo also said the respondents could also respond in line with the rule if they so wish
Justice Taiwo adjourned the matter until December 17.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Gbagi in September allegedly arrested and charged four of his staff working in his hotel to court for allegedly stealing his N5,000.