By Taiye Agbaje
A 52-year-old medical doctor, Israel Emmanuel, told a Magistrates’ Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, how Peter Bilal, a retired Group Captain, invited the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel to harass and threaten to kill him in his residence.
Emmanuel, through his counsel, Dr Oluwaseyi Leigh, in a direct criminal complaint marked: CR/16/2022 and filed before Magistrate Oluwakemi Ariwoola, prayed for the court’s intervention.
“The complainant is a medical doctor resident at Block D9, Flat 71, CBN I & J Estate, 9 Zaria Street, Off Ladoke Akintola Street, Garki 2, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the court,” he said.
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 abuse, hatred and ridicule from neighbours on account of the unrelenting and unremitting hostile attitude of the defendant (Bilal).
He said that Bilal, at one time, reported him at Garki Police Station on allegations that he tampered with his (Bilal’s) Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC)’s prepaid meter.
Emmanuel, who described the allegation as untrue, said Bilal had earlier made same complaint to the other neighbours and occupants of the estate and that the estate technical personnel was called to investigate his claims and found this to be untrue.
“Yet, the defendant (Bilal) has refused to apologise to the complainant and to desist from further maligning his character,” he said.
According to him, after departing the police station and on getting to the scene of the crime at the estate at about 3:32p.m in the afternoon that day, the defendant brought Air Force Police personnel to the block.
“And as the complainant and the Investigating Police Officers were downstairs in the building, the defendant pointed the complainant out to the Airforce men who marched him to his apartment on the last floor, at gunpoint, entered the complainant’s apartment and started taking pictures and making video recordings which they took away with them.
“The complainant states that all the while that the Airforce men were in the complainant’s apartment, the defendant started raining vulgar abuse on him, casting derogatory aspersions on his person.
“Boasting that as he (the defendant) was an Airforce personnel even though retired, his links with the Airforce still subsists and that there is nothing the complainant or anyone could do to him to bring him to justice,” he averred.
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 from the surface of the earth, as the complainant is a national security risk,” he said.
He further averred that “the Airforce men also led him downstairs with the guns still pointed at him where some residents of the Block had gathered and other residents of the estate and other passers-by waiting to observe what was going on.
“On getting downstairs, the defendant continued his verbal assaults on the complainant, saying so many unprintable things about the complainant.”
He said Bilal described him as a man of no means of livelihood.
According to him, the Airforce men left ceremoniously in an atmosphere of braggadocio, clicking their heels, slapping their guns to make some noise – as they are accustomed to do after a successful military campaign.
He said besides ignoring all moves by the chairman of the estate’s residents association and the executives to settle the matter, efforts by the police to intervene were rebuffed.
He said the peace-meeting by the estate executives collapsed when Bilal rushed at him and started to assault him physically in the presence of the estate chairman, Mr Emmanuel Ogunfusika.
The medical doctor recalled that, on the advice of his lawyer, a petition letter was written to the deputy Inspector-general of police, Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) on threat to his life but Bilal refused to honour police invitation.
He said another letter was written to the Inspector-General of Police by his lawyer and three separate formal invitations dispatched to Bilal but to no avail.
Emmanuel, who said the two letters were exhibited his application before the court, said Bilal kept fuelling the matter, boasting that since he was an Airforce personnel, there was nothing the police could do to him “and at best, he will press everything down through esprit de corps.”
When the matter came up on Friday for Bilal’s arraignment, the retired officer was not in court
Bilal’s counsel, Emeka Izima, told the magistrate that he appeared in court in protest due to the fact that his client was not properly served with the hearing notice.
Izima said Bilal was far away in Gombe but promised that he would be in court in the next adjourned date.
But Leigh, who was lawyer to Emmanuel, disagreed with Izima, stressing that the proof of service of the hearing notice was in the court file.
He said the defendant must have been served.
Ariwoola, after going through the court file, however, agreed with Izima that Bilal was not properly served.
“The proof of service shows that the service is irregular; that he has not been served personally,” she said.
Leigh then urged the court to direct that Bilal be served through substituted means or in the next adjourned date since he was represented in court.
The magistrate held that the nature of the case demanded personal service of court processes on Bilal.
She, however, said Leigh could liaise with the court registry on how the defendant could be served and adjourned the matter till July 7 for hearing in the application and Bilal’s arraignment. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Sadiya Hamza