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Judge fines property developer N2m over abuse of judicial processes



Cecil Ezem Osakwe

Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, 13/3/2024 imposed a fine of N2 million against Mr Cecil Osakwe, a property developer, over abuse of judicial processes.

Delivering judgment in an enforcement of fundamental fundamental rights suit filed by Osakwe, against the Inspector General of Police and three others. Justice Halilu dismissed the suit.

Also named in the suit were Ms. Asabe Waziri, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID) and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Special Enquiry Bureau (SEB).

The lawsuit originated from a complaint to the police by Ms. Waziri for various alleged offenses including threat to life, criminal conspiracy, malicious damage, disobedience of court order, defamation of character, and trespass.

Following a letter of invitation dated August 12, 2022, by the DIG, FCIID, Osakwe initiated the fundamental rights suit.

This judgment follows a similar ruling by Justice Muhammad Idris of the FCT High Court, Jabi, Abuja, who struck out a previous fundamental rights suit in June 2022, filed by Osakwe through his Lawyer Victor Giwa for being incompetent. Despite this, Osakwe pursued another legal action, this time before Justice Yusuf Halilu.

Justice Halilu said “my brother judge struck out the previous fundamental rights suit filed by Osakwe based on the reason that the suit was incompetent”
Halilu, however, declined to assume jurisdiction over the matter, adding that it would amount to an abuse of judicial processes.

“Abuse of court processes will arise when there is an undue act by the opponent to have advantage over the other”.
“ It is when the processes of the court are not used properly”

The judge therefore dismissed the suit.,
He, therefore, warned lawyers not to engage in such practice.
Represented by his Counsel, Mr. Victor Giwa, Osakwe sought various reliefs, including a perpetual injunction restraining the police, their officers, servants and agents from further inviting and threatening to arrest and detain him.

Additionally, he sought damages amounting to one Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000.00) against Ms. Asabe Waziri and fifty Million Naira (N50,000,000.00) against the police.

It will be recalled that on February 28, 2024, the FCT High Court sitting in Kubwa struck out a one-billion-naira suit brought against a former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and three others filed by the same property developer Cecil Osakwe.

Justice O.I. Adelaja struck out the matter, citing lack of diligent prosecution by Osakwe. 
The claimant is the one who filed the action and is required to be seen diligently prosecuting same but they are not in court and there is no reason for their absence before the court. 

They have, therefore, been absent without reason and consequent upon Order 32 Rule 4, this case is ordered struck out for want of diligent prosecution,’’ Adelaja ordered.