Dismissing the suit, Justice Rabiu-Shagari ruled that by provisions of the constitution and Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, the police has the right to seize and confiscate any items or properties, been subjects of crime as exhibit.
The court also ruled that the court cannot stop the police or other security agency from carrying out their constitutional duties.
Consequently, Justice Rabiu-Shagari dismissed Evans’ suit.
In the suit, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly called Evans, through his lawyer, Olukayode Ogungbeje, in fundamental Right Enforcement suit number FHC/L/CS/1515/2017, had dragged IGP, Nigeria Police Force (NPF), IGP Response Team, Lagos State Police Commissioner, and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) before the court, seeking the release of 25 Mack trucks, which he claimed were seized from him.
Evans had urged the Court to order the police to release the trucks to him through his lawyer.
He had listed the number plates of some of the said trucks as BDG 78 XT, GGE 491 XU, FST 742 XT, AGL 219 XT, BDG 79 XT, AGL 222 XT, GGE 492 XU, AGL 220 XT and GGE 489 XU.
During the hearing of the suit, Evans lawyer, had told that the trucks were seized without a court order, saying that the seizure was a violation of his client’s right.
Evans lawyer had also told the court that the police forcefully confiscated the trucks from Evans on June 15, 2017 without any court order.
The alleged Kidnap kingpin, had urged the court to award the sum of N200m against the respondents, as general and exemplary damages, for what he termed violation of his rights under sections 36, 43, and 44 of the 1999 Constitution.
In opposing the suit, the police in a counter-affidavit deposed to by one Inspector Haruna Idowu, and argued by Barrister Emmanuel Eze, stated that the team that investigated Evans’ case, only recovered 11 trucks, which are proceeds of crime. Adding that 10 of them were recovered by the police and had been listed as exhibits in the criminal charges filed against Evans.
Barrister Eze said, “the applicant is the notorious and most dreaded armed robber and kidnapper known as Evans, who defiled police arrest for over 10 years and who had terrorised many states of Nigeria with his various gang members.
“The applicant has no other source of livelihood except armed robbery and kidnapping as so many arms and ammunition were recovered from the applicant during his arrest.
“The applicant had purchased various properties with proceeds of armed robbery and kidnapping.
“The applicant purchased 11 trucks with proceeds of crime. The police recovered 10 in Lagos while they were not able to tow the remaining one from Anambra State to Lagos due to the fact that the applicant’s brother-in-law, Mr. Okwuchukwu Obiechina, and his wife had tampered with the brain box of the truck in a bid to pervert the course of justice.
“The trucks recovered are proceeds of crime which are preserved and kept as exhibits to be tendered in the ongoing criminal prosecution of the application at the High Court of Lagos State, in accordance to the provisions of Section 45((1)(2)(b) and (k) of the 1999, Constitution of Nigeria, and Sections 143, 144(1) and 153(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.