Ogechi Njaka, a Nigerian blogger, has lamented the notice issued by the Nigerian chapter of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) that she is wanted.
According to the notice which was published on Daily Trust Newspaper on Tuesday, May 17, Njaka was declared wanted for criminal defamation of character, hate speech, insult, provocation and breach of peace.
The police alleged that Njaka committed the offences through videos and pictures posted on her social media handles.
According to Samuel Ihensenkhien, the lawyer representing Njaka, the police had secured an arrest warrant against Njeke over a libel case filed on behalf of one Hajia Maryam Sheu in 2021. However, the case was later struck out by a Federal High Court in Abuja in February 2022.
“The wanted notice published on Daily Trust Newspaper is illegal because the court has struck out the case in 2022,” Ihensenkhien told FIJ.
“The court struck out the case for what it described as ‘want of diligent prosecution’ in the hands of the police. And this also ended the validity of the warrant of arrest. It must be noted that the police has no authority to declare any person wanted. Only the court has that power.”
Ihensenkhien also said he has filed a lawsuit against the office of Garba Baba Umar, the Assistant Inspector General of Police who doubles as the head of INTERPOL; the Nigeria Police Force; Hajia Maryam Sheu; and the Attorney General of the Federation for the violation of Njaka’s right to fair hearing and freedom.
Speaking with FIJ, Bishop Darius, an officer from the office of Umar, said he was unaware of any court order that struck out the case.
“There’s no way someone will be declared wanted without warrant,” Darius said. “There was a duly signed warrant before the publication. Even before the publication, she was invited by the police, which was served to her via her email, but she refused.”
If a court struck out the case, he said, “the police was not served. Let them provide the court proceedings”.
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