After vacillating for about three weeks, the Kano State Government, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and two others have complied with a May 4 judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja, voiding their decision to seal a rice factory in the state.
The Kano State Government had on April 18, forcefully sealed the Tiamin Rice Processing Factory located at C14 AA Shehu House, Amana City, Zaria Road, Kano, claiming that it was too close to an isolation centre created for COVID-19 patients.
The factory’s owners – Tiamin Rice Ltd, Tiamin Multi Services Global and Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim – challenged the state government’s action in a fundamental rights enforcement suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/448/2020 filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Listed, along with Kano Government and the IGP, as respondents in the suit were the Commissioner of Police, Kano State and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
In a judgment on May 4, Justice Okon Abang faulted the sealing of the factory, ordered its immediate reopening and awarded N300million damages in favour of the factory owners.
Justice Abang held among others, that the closure of the factory, without a valid court order, violated the rights of the applicants and the exemption accorded food production companies by the Federal Government.
Rather than promptly comply with the judgment, the IGP and Kano CP filed a fresh motion on May 15, 2020 asking the court to either stay the execution of the judgment or set it aside.
They claimed the lockdown announced by the Federal Government prevented them from participating in the earlier hearing conducted in the case, which lead to the May 4 judgment.
The judgment creditors (Tiamin Rice Ltd, Tiamin Multi Services Global and Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim) responded with a counter-affidavit, in which they challenged the competence of the fresh motion by the IGP and the Kano Police Commissioners.
On May 21, lawyer to the judgment creditors, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) said he has served the judgment debtors, including the IGP and the Kano CP with his clients’ counter-affidavit.
Lawyer to the IGP and Kano CP, Celestine Odo confirmed being served but sought a short time to enable him file a reply, following which Justice Okon Abang adjourned till May 27 for hearing.
When parties got to court on Wednesday, Awomolo announced that the judgment debtors have had a change of heart and have complied with the judgment.
He said all barricades erected by security agents at the entrances of the rice factory have been removed
The lawyer,who hailed the IGP for being law abiding, said the police chief has demonstrated loyalty to the Constitution