Extra – Judicial Killing: Appeal Court Affirms N5M Judgement Against First Bank

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Gbenga Ogunbufunmi

 

The Court of Appeal, Lagos division has affirmed the judgement of a Lagos High Court, which ordered First bank Plc to pay the sum of N5 million to a businesswoman, Ganiat Amope Dilly.

Apart from dismissing the appeal, a 3-man-panel, which includes, Justice Obande Festus Ogbuinya, Justice Fatima Omoro Akinbami and Justice Fredrick Oziakpono Oho, also unanimously slammed a N100, 000 cost against First Bank Plc for filing the appeal.

First Bank became a culprit in the matter for refusing to release N5 million Police money in its custody to the judgement creditor following the garnishee of the account by the court.

The respondent in the appeal, Mrs. Dilly, had through an exparte application asked for Order Nisi for the enforcement of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos in her favour granting compensatory damages of N5 million pursuant to the fundamental rights enforcement action challenging the extrajudicial killing of her deceased son by the judgment debtors (Inspector-General of Police).

In a well-considered ruling, the judge at the lower court agreed with the respondent’s counsel, and proceeded to make the Order Nisi Absolute against the Appellant (First Bank Plc).

Order Nisi, is an order that will ripe or take effect at some set date in the future unless the order is annulled by the court before that date.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the lower court, First Bank Plc approached the Court of Appeal through its counsel, Emmanuel Okorie, in a Notice of Appeal marked CA/L/1168/2018.

In the appeal, First Bank had asked for an order allowing its appeal and set-aside the Judgment/order of the lower court, made against it on July 3, 2018 in Suit No. BD/1825 MJR/2018, instituted by Mrs. Ganiat Amope Dilly Vs Inspector-General of Police and Others, having First Bank Plc, as second Garnishee.

First Bank Plc also prayed the court for an order discharging it from the garnishee proceeding.

During its hearing of the appeal, First Bank Plc’s counsel, Okorie Esq, adopted the appellants’ brief of argument, filed on December 20, 2018 and deemed properly filed on March 7, 2019, as representing his arguments for the appeal.

Similarly, counsel for the respondent, Olukoya Ogungbeje Esq, adopted his client’s brief of argument, filed on March 4, 2019, deemed properly filed on March 7, 2019 as forming his reactions against the appeal. He urged the court to dismiss it.

After perusing all the processes filed in the appeal by both parties and citing superior legal authorities, Justice Fatima Omoro Akinbami in her lead judgement held “I have carefully perused the record of appeal, as well as the briefs of arguments of the parties. I find that the appellant’s counsel admitted that he was late to court on July 3, 2018, consequently was absent when the court heard the application for decree absolute. He therefore did not place the appellant’s counter affidavit filed on June 13, 2018 before the court in opposition to the grant of the decree absolute’’.

Justice Akinbami held that there was no counter affidavit before the lower court on July 3, 2018, when the court heard the application for decree absolute.

“The learned trial judge arrived at the correct finding based on the materials placed before the court. Undisputedly the decision reached by the learned trial court is one based on the evidence placed before the court, and ought not to be disturbed.

“Consequently, this appeal being unmeritorious is hereby dismissed. I access costs at N100, 000: 00 in favour of the respondent”.

Other members of the panel, Justice Fredrick O. Ojo and Justice Obande Festus Ogbuinya, agreed with the reasoning of Justice Akinbami and equally dismissed First Bank appeal for completely lacking in merit.

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