By TAIYE AGBAJE
ABUJA- The scheduled arraignment of retired Group Capt.Peter Bilal at the Magistrate Court 13, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, on Thursday, was stalled due to the absence of the presiding magistrate, Oluwakemi Ariwoola.
Although counsel for the plaintiff, Dr Oluwaseyi Leigh, and lawyer to the defendant, Luka Haruna,, were in court, the magistrate was absent.
Also the plaintiff, Dr Israel Emmanuel, and the defendant, Mr Bilal, were in court.
The court registrar, however, announced that Magistrate Ariwoola was indisposed, hence, the matter would not proceed.
“Your lordship is indisposed and she can’t make it to court today.
“The matter is listed for motion/arraignment. but the case will be adjourned,” he said.
The court consequently fixed July 26 for hearing of the motion and for Bilal’s arraignment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Magistrate Ariwoola had, on June 17, fixed today (July 7) for Bilal’s arraignment because the retired officer was not in court in the last sitting.
Bilal is being charged on allegations that he threatened to kill a neighbour, Emmanuel, who is a medical doctor,
Emmanuel, who resides at Garki 2, Abuja, had filed a direct criminal complaint with case number: CR/16/2022 against the former Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officer.
He averred that Bilal, who also resides in the same estate where he lives, had continued to intimidate and harass him over allegation that he committed criminal trespass against him (Bilal).
“The defendant is a neighbour to the complainant and a retired Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel who resides at Flat 72, which is opposite the complainant’s own apartment (Flat 71) on the last Floor of Block D9, CBN I & J Estate, 9 Zaria Street, Off Ladoke Akintola Street, Garki 2, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Court,” he said.
According to him, he has suffered psychological torture, physical and psychological abuse, intimidation, untold and unquantifiable contempt, hatred, and ridicule from neighbours on account of the unrelenting and unremitting hostile attitude of the defendant (Bilal).
Emmanuel alleged that Bilal vowed that he would stop at nothing to force him to leave the estate.
“And that he, the defendant, will not rest until he permanently gets rid of the complainant (Emmanuel) from the surface of the earth, as the complainant is a national security risk,” he said.
He also accused the retired officer of bringing some NAF personnel to the estate to harrass and intimidate him at one time, among others.
But Bilal, in a notice of preliminary objection filed by his lawyer, Haruna, disagreed with Emmanuel.
In the motion brought pursuant to Section 6(6)(B) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended):and the inherent power if the court, the retired officer sought an order of the court striking out or dismissing Emmanuel’s suit, together with the motion on notice.
In the eight grounds canvassed in his argument, Bilal argued that by the procedure of diirect criminal complaint, the court was required to send the complaint to the Nigerian Police Force for investigation after the plea of the defendant.
“The complainant (Emmanuel) herein had already made the same complaint herein to the Divisional Police Headquarters, Garki, Abuja against this same defendant for proper investigation.
“The complaint herein has consequently been duly and completely investigated by the Nigerian Police Force and investigation report has been issued by the police,” he said.
According to him, following the police investigation report and its findings, the police has arrested, arraigned and commenced prosecution of the person found culpable in the process which is the complainant (Emmanuel) herein.
He said the criminal charge which has been preferred against Emmanuel was contained in Charge No: CR/33/2022 in the matter of Commissioner of Police Vs. Israel Emmanuel “pending before Court No. 14 of this honourable court presided over by His Lordship, Olumide Bamisile, Esq,” among others.
Bilal, who said it would be in the best interest of justice and fairness to allow Court 14 continued its trial on charge preferred against Emmanuel, said this would guard against abuse of court process.(NAN)