Lagos loses bid to stop ex-detainee’s compensation

A Lagos High Court in Ikeja on Wednesday struck out a fresh application by the state government seeking the stay of execution of a judgment awarding the sum of N7m as compensation to a former inmate, Mamman Keita, who was remanded for over 10 years without arraignment.

The application was the third filed by the government to stop the garnishee proceedings initiated by Keita’s counsel, Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem, to enforce the judgment delivered by the court in December 2011.

The court, in the said judgment, held that the state Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police in the state were both culpable for the violation of Keita’s rights to freedom of movement and human dignity as a result of his remand for 10 years without arraignment.

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Abiru, on Wednesday, re-affirmed his earlier ruling that he was bound by an earlier decision of the Appeal Court that a judgment debtor could not be heard in the garnishee proceedings.

He had earlier granted Keita’s application for garnishee absolute, compelling Skye Bank Plc, which keeps part of Lagos funds to pay the money to the ex-detainee.

Abiru restated on Wednesday that the government, as a judgment debtor in the garnishee proceedings, “is a meddlesome interloper,” and as such, could not be heard.

The state, represented by the state’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Pedro Lawal, on Wednesday, had earlier said the government would be interested to pay the money into the court’s account pending the determination of its appeal against the judgment rather than to Keita, “a Nigerien with unknown address.”

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Adetola-Kazeem had opposed the government’s application for stay of execution, saying the government, as a judgment debtor, could not be heard in the proceedings.

The judge urged the government to seek for redress at the appellate court if dissatisfied with the decision.

Source – Punch

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