Judgement Detail - HOW/742/2020


In Suit No: HOW/742/2020 between CHIEF EMMANUEL NDUKA V. PATRICK UBABUIHE & 6 Ors, the High Court of Imo State per I.O. Agugua, Ag CJ  in considering a fundamental right application on 22nd day of February, 2021 had this to say;


“Giving information to the police or report of a crime to the police by any citizen is within ones’ responsibility of being a Nigerian citizen.  It is then left for the police to sieve the facts, determine what information is false and deal with what is appropriate under the relevant laws as provided.

Where a complaint is made Bona Fide to the police, the complainant cannot be held liable for any action taken by the police thereafter. The underlining factor therefore is BONAFIDE. But where from all the circumstances surrounding same as in the instant case, where the 1st Respondent has made complaint to different police stations regarding the same set of facts and expecting different results each time, can the present complaint to the 6th and 7th Respondents giving rise to this suit be seen as bona fide, I doubt the answer will be yes.

The 1st respondent confirmed to this court in his counter affidavit that he made a complaint first at the Mgbidi Divisional police station, then to the state CID Police Command Headquarters Owerri and then to AIG Zone 9 Umuahia, all in his quest for justice and I ask; justice according to whom?  His actions reek of abuse of Process and his complaint to the 6th and 7th respondents is therefore not made bona fide.

 I am not unmindful of the powers of the police as provided by section 4 of the Police Act CAP 359 LFN 1990, but I must add that the police ought to act within their power, in good faith and without any malice, persuasion and inducement. The Police in carrying out their investigation into any complaint before it are enjoined to look at the facts contained carefully before proceeding to invite or arrest the person against whom the complaint is made. In fact I do not think that it is in all cases that an invitation or arrest must be made. Some complaints on the face of it are frivolous, without foundation or out rightly being civil in nature. Even where an allegation of crime is made, the police ought to independently investigate same first before making any invitation or effecting arrest. An arrest or invitation pending investigation is unconstitutional, see the case of DURUAKU V. NWOKE (2015) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1483) 417 @ 424 Ratio 1. Therefore, there are several ways of carrying out an investigation to first ascertain whether it is true or likely to be true before even inviting/arresting any person. These days’ individuals now resort to using the police to settle personal vendetta and/or settle civil disputes by making their complaint contain an element or mention of crime.  The Police ought to do a thorough check of the facts to ascertain if it is a mere civil matter or not before inviting/arresting persons named in the complaint/petition.  If Police are to do their jobs professionally, many suits of this nature would not be filed”.

Court Document