A Nigeria-based Chinese businessman,Ting Shi, who believes his fundamental human rights – rights to personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom of movement – was allegedly curtailed by the Nigeria Police Zone 2, has dragged the Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos before a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos.
Mr. Shi, who is the managing director and alter ego of Timto-Alu Company, a business incorporated in Nigeria with its factory at Ijagba Village, along Shagamu – Ikorodu Express Way, Shagamu, Ogun State, in an affidavit sworn in support of his motion on notice, accused the police of violating his fundamental human rights and wish to enforce it through a competent Court of jurisdiction.
The petitioner also alleged that the Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 2, also flouted an order by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police that the case file be transferred to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for proper investigation, hence denying him a fair hearing.
Others joined as co-defendants, in the ensuing suit are; a Lagos-based businessman, Aliyu Mohammed; IPO, Monitoring Unit Zone 2, Akeem Adeyemi; O/C Monitoring Unit Zone 2, Nussy Adams Uba; and a limited liability company, Lloyd’s Industries Limited.
The Nigeria-based Chinese businessman, according to the affidavit sworn in support of his motion on notice, also alleged as follows:
– That since the Company, which deals in Aluminum Dross and Scrap Discovery Recycling, commenced operations in December 2021, the 1st Respondent, Mr. Aliyu Mohammed, who deals in aluminum scraps has been one of his supplier of local INGOTS, the raw material for Aluminum Dross and Scrap to his company.
– That the business relationship has no doubt created mutual trust and confidence, and allayed any suspicion of fraud, misrepresentation or criminal intention on thier part towards him prior to this issue at hand.
However, sometimes in March, 2022, about eight (8) months after incorporation and four (4) months of full business operations in Nigeria, Mr Aliyu Mohammed informed him (Mr. Shi) that he had participated in the auctioning of INGOTS by the Nigeria Custom Service, NCS, and bought about 64.834kg at the auction and proposed to supply same to the company at the prevailing local market price for the product.
In line with legal business relationship, Mr Shi accepted Mr Mohammed’s offer to supply the INGOTS to his company at the prevailing market price at the time.
Mr. Mohammed supplied the first batch of 15.469kg of INGOTS to the company on 31st of March, 2022; while the second and third batches totaling 49.365kg were supplied on 15th and 16th May, 2022 respectively.
A total of 64.834kg of INGOTS were eventually supplied at the cost of N72,090,850.00 (Seventy Two Million, Ninety Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Naira Only), which was the prevailing local market price of the product at that time, according to the receipts.
But Mr. Shi was surprised when on Thursday, September 8th, 2022, at about 9:00am a team of armed policemen, who claimed to have been deployed from Zone 2 Police Command Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos, stormed his company’s factory in a commando manner at Ijaba Village, alleging he bought stolen goods purportedly supplied by one, Aliyu Mohammed.
He was consequently harassed, rough-handled and bundled into a waiting vehicle and taken to the Police Zonal Command Headquarters, where he was detained by Mr Akeem Adeyemi (IPO) Monitoring Unit, Zone 2 and Mr Nussy Adams Uba (O/C) Monitoring Unit Zone 2 between 9.00am on Thursday, September 8th, 2022 and 10.00pm on Monday, September 12th, 2022.
He was detained without any prior invitation nor investigation, and was not allowed to neither explain himself, nor access his lawyer. He was also never shown any petition against him by the Respondents or any other person.
However, on Monday, September 12th, at about 9:00am while still in the Police detention, he was allegedly forced by the 2nd – 4th Respondents, who he claimed had earlier referred to him, as a “big Fish”, to transfer the sum of N30,000,000.00 (Thirty Million Naira) to the company account of the Lloyd’s Industries Limited, a company he had no business dealings with. According to him, they claimed the strange company was the purported owner of the alleged stolen goods, as a condition for his bail.
He was subsequently subjected to another rounds of tortuous duress and was allegedly escorted to the banking hall of Zenith Bank, to forcefully transferred N30,000,000.00 to Lloyd’s Industries Limited.
He was on the same day reportedly taken to the Court premises, where he was allegedly compelled without any investigation to sign a fabricated Affidavit of Undertaking dated September 12th, 2022 by Akeem Adeyemi and two other Police officers from the Monitoring Unit, Zone 2 Command.
The police officers were said to have also deliberately over estimated the quantity and value of the goods to N130Million in the said affidavit he was allegedly forced to sign, and mandated him to ensure he pays the balance of the said amount to Lloyd’s industries effective from the date of the alleged fake undertaking.
Meanwhile, Mr Mohammed, who supplied him the Ingots was only invited by the 2nd to 4th Respondents and later allow to walk away without recourse to his complicity in the matter.
Mr Shi’s insistence on the questionable role Mr. Mohammed played in what appeared as a setup to extort money from him, had led to several threats to his life, with fierce looking armed men, occasionally invading the premises of his factory and threatening to deal with him in the Nigerian way, if he fails to corporate with the police to pay up the N130,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Thirty Million Naira) as soon as possible.
The said threat persisted to the extent that he no longer show up in his factory owing to fear of losing his life.
To this end, Mr. Shi on 26th September, 2022 wrote a petition through his lawyer, Gloria O. Cassius, to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police against Aliyu Mohammed, but the 2nd – 4th Respondents were said to have sat on the petition and prevented the case from been transferred to the Force Headquarters Abuja, as demanded by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police for proper investigation, thereby denying him fair hearing.
The petitioner as a result has suffered great pains, physical trauma, mental and psychological torture as well as huge economic losses throughout the period of his arrest, detention, and incessant threats to his life.
He also never had any prior knowledge or any reason to suspect that the ingots Mr Mohammed supplied to his company was stolen, as he had always supplied ingots since the inception of the company’s operations, and the same was purchased at the prevailing market price.
He also believe the ingots supplied to the company through Mr Mohammed were not the same stolen ingots, because the supply were not carrying any company identification mark.
More so, it took about seven months after he had processed and exported the Ingots sold to the company by Mohammed before the complaint of the alleged stolen INGOTS, harassment, intimidation, arrest, detention, extortion of money and further threat to his life.
Consequently, Mr.Ting Shi is seeking the following reliefs from the Court:
A declaration that the forceful, illegal, unlawful and uncivilized arrest without warrant, and detention between 9.00am on Thursday, 8th September, 2022 and 10.00pm on Monday, 12th September, 2022, is a violation of his rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom of movement guaranteed and safeguarded under Sections 34, 35, 36, 41 and 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and under Articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
A declaration that the humiliation, torture, brutalization and further threats to curtail his movement by officers, operatives and men under the said command and directives of the 2nd – 4th Respondents at the instance of Mr Aliyu Mohammed and Lloyd’s Industries Limited and is barbaric, brute, flagrant and unmitigated violation of his rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom of movement guaranteed and safeguarded under Sections 34, 35, 36, 41 and 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and under Articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
A declaration that the above two reliefs amounts to gross violation of his rights to personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom of movement.