Bio-data: Dismiss Ukpo’s plea, Ekweremadus pray court

Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, on Tuesday, prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja to dismiss an application filed by the kidney donor, David Ukpo, asking the court to set aside its orders made on July 1 and July 6.

Ukpo, through his lawyer, Bamidele Igbinedion, had filed a motion on notice, urging Justice Inyang Ekwo to set aside the orders, directing some agencies of government and banks to release his biodata to Ekweremadu and his wife.

Ukpo, who is currently in the United Kingdom in connection with the alleged organ harvesting charge against the Ekweremadus, had said that granting the couple’s request violated his fundamental rights to privacy guaranteed by Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

But in a counter affidavit deposed to by Bright Ekweremadu, the immediate younger brother to the ex-deputy Senate President, the applicants, said Ukpo was not entitled to the reliefs sought as the law did not permit such.

The counter affidavit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2022, was dated and filed on September 8 by their counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN.
In a 20-point argument, Ekweremadu averred that though the court gave its ruling on July 1, Ukpo’s right to fair hearing was not breached.

He said the documents which were released by the agencies and banks upon the orders of the court had been transmitted to the UK and same had been “tendered at the Uxbridge Magistrate Court, and at the Central Criminal Court in the UK and had subsequently formed part of the record of the courts.

“That I know as a fact that the documents which are already in evidence before those Honourable courts in the United Kingdom cannot be retrieved by this Honourable Court.

“That the courts in the United Kingdom are already seised of the documents” and that he was in the last criminal proceeding where the documents were used.

He said the documents were required to prove the actual age of Ukpo, who claimed to be 15 years of age but believed to be well over 21 years of age.

According to him, if the applicant (Ukpo) had not lied about his age, he had nothing to fear and the document would hear him out.

“That the orders of the Honourable Court made on July 1 and 6, 2022 are the final orders of the court,” he said.

Upon resumed hearing in the matter, counsel for Ukpo, Ojonugwa Oguche, informed that he was served with a counter affidavit by the Ekweremadus earlier in the morning and would need to reply on points of law.

Counsel to the respondents, including that of the Ekweremadus, Eyitayo Falogun, SAN, did not oppose the request and Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until September 20 for hearing at the instance of Ukpo’s lawyer.

The judge then ordered all parties to file and exchange their processes before the next adjourned date.

The News Agency of Nigerian reports that on June 27, Ekweremadu, who currently represents Enugu West Senatorial District, and his wife had, in an application dated and filed on June 27 by Awomolo, sued the National Identity Management Commission and four others following the criminal charge filed against them in the UK.

Others mentioned in the suit are the Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service; Stanbic-IBTC Bank; United Bank of Africa and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc as second to fifth respondents respectively, but the fifth respondent was later dropped from the charge.

They had sought the order of the court directing all the respondents to release to them certified true copies of Ukpo’s biodata information in their care to enable them to present the documents before the UK court and the judge granted the request on July 1.

Besides, Ekwo also made an order on July 6, directing the NIMC to release Ukpo’s information to the Ekweremadus in line with the earlier court order.

But Ukpo, who sought an order setting aside the court proceedings and the ruling, also prayed for an order setting aside the proceedings and the order made on July 6.

Besides these prayers, Ukpo sought an order of perpetual injunction, restraining Ekweremadu and his wife and all the respondents from executing the ruling.