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JUDGE BERATES NAVY OVER ALLEGED ASSAULT ON BAILIFF

By NBF News
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IT was thumbs down for the Nigerian Navy yesterday as the presiding Judge of Federal High Court, Makurdi, Justice Abimbola Obaseki, berated its personnel in Makurdi for manhandling the court's bailiff sent to serve them court processes.

The bailiff had gone to the Nigerian Navy Provost School, Makurdi, to deliver summons on two naval officers, N. Y. Abasi and Edeyi Modestus, who beat up and injured a businessman, Anthony Okoh, at a popular restaurant in Makurdi.

Justice Obaseki said the action of the naval officers was an affront on the judiciary and a threat to the delivery of justice.

Speaking at the resumed hearing of the suit filed by Anthony Okoh against the Nigerian Navy, the President, Attorney General of the Federation and the two naval officers yesterday in Makurdi, Justice Obaseki stated that the Nigerian Army was a more responsible group that respects court processes.

She said: 'Whenever a pronouncement is made on the attitude of the Navy, they say they have been embarrassed, but the truth is that they have no respect for court processes'.

At the continuation of hearing, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr. Femi Akinkunmi, raised a preliminary objection asking the court to strike out the names of the President and Attorney General of the Federation from the suit.

He argued that at the time the two accused naval officers beat up Okoh at a restaurant they were in mufti, hence they were acting in their private capacity and not on behalf of the government.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Ocha Ulegede, said the preliminary objection lacked merit, hence it should be thrown out. He described the preliminary objection as a deliberate attempt to keep the matter on the cause list.

He said the failure of the respondents to file counter-affidavits was an admission that all the allegations were uncontended.

Justice Obaseki reserved ruling on the preliminary objection for March 8, 2011.