Court orders police commissioner to release businessman’s impounded articulated

A Chief Magistrate Court in Lokoja on Wednesday ordered the Kogi Commissioner of Police to release an articulated vehicle to a businessman.

Magistrate I.B. Obaka of Chief Magistrate Court, Lokoja, gave the order in his ruling in a motion filed by a businessman, Alhaji Abubakar Oba-Suleimon, through his Counsel, Mr Nyenke Joseph.

Obaka wondered why the police continue to keep in their custody the impounded truck for more than two months over what they also concurred to be a “ accident” it was involved in.

The Magistrate noted that the complainant had in his affidavits of urgency argued that the vehicle which was bought on “higher purchase”, was involved in a accident, during which no life or property was lost, “yet the police didn’t counter those facts.

“Whether or not this application can be granted, the supreme Court’s position is that sufficient evidence must be put in place, which must be accompanied by facts for the Court to use it’s discretion.

“It’s a known fact that the vehicle was bought through high purchase, and that the same vehicle was involved in a accident.

“These are facts which the respondent didn’t counter in their counter affidavit.

“Instead, the police claimed that they are still carrying out investigations, even for more than two months after they impounded the truck and intended to keep it in their custody till God knows when, ” the Magistrate held.

He said such posture runs contrary to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP’s) order on June 7 that police commissioners across Nigeria should clear all impounded vehicles in police custody on the ground that police premises should not be used as junkyards as it was the case.

He pointed out that it was indeed been established that continued impoundment of the truck was causing huge losses to the complainant as contained in the affidavit of urgency.

Obaka held that he was of the belief that since Sept 9, when the truck was impounded, it was enough time for the police to have concluded their investigation on the said “ accident” it (truck) was involved in.

“Consequently, this honourable Court holds that the application of the complainant succeeds and I hereby order the State Commissioner of Police to release the truck to the complainant with immediate effect.

“However, the applicant should provide the said truck to the police whenever they need it in the course of their investigation. The applicant should sign a bond to that effect,” the Magistrate also ordered.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oba-Suleimon, a Kogi-based businessman sued the Commissioner of Police over the continuous impoundment of his articulated vehicle for more than two months after it was involved in an in Lokoja.

Oba-Suleimon had, through his Counsel,  Joseph, pleaded with the Court for the immediate release of his truck, which he said was only involved in a “minor accident” that no life or property was lost to.

Speaking to NAN shortly after ruling of the Court, Oba-Suleimon expressed happiness with the decision of the Court and lamented the huge losess he has suffered as a result of long impoundment of the truck by the police. (NAN)

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