A Delta State High Court sitting in Otor Udu, Ughelli south local government area of the state, has dismissed an application filed by one Gloria Ogechi Oguzie alleging that she and three others were stripped naked and filmed by agents of Olorogun Barrister Kenneth Gbagi, owner of Signatious Hotel in Warri.
The presiding Judge, His Lordship, Honourable Justice Roli Daibo Harriman in a judgement delivered on 20th July 2022, dismissed all allegations brought against Olorogun Gbagi, a former minister of state for education and governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2023 general election.
Other defendants in the suit were Victoria Ogidiagba, Ikechukwu Kingsley Ndukwu, Mr. Success, Mr. Egba Gbagi and Signatious Hotel and Suites Ltd.
According to the Judge, “it is trite that the burden of proving fundamental rights breach is on the applicant. He is expected to do this by showing through an affidavit the actions of the respondent which show a breach of any of the fundamental rights stated in the constitution.
“The importance of affidavit evidence in a fundamental rights case cannot be over emphasized. The facts deposed to are the only avenue for the court to determine whether rights of the applicant have been breached. An applicant who wishes the court to note the acts complained of must diligently and clearly state the acts complained of.
“The court is not expected to imagine facts or import facts into the case. The applicant is only able to prove infringement by the facts deposed to in any affidavit.
Counsel for the applicant, J. Smart, had contended that these acts have breached the applicant’s right to personal liberty, human dignity and right to private and family life. It therefore means that one should be able to see from the affidavit and proven, the acts that constitute such breaches.
Counsel for the 1st, 5th and 6th respondents had accused Gloria Ogechi Oguzie and her colleagues of using the hotel facilities for prostitution of minors, soliciting monies from guests, conduct of applicant amounted to prostitution which is against the policies of the hotel, just as he denied sundry allegations made against him which were held by the court.
Giving further judgement, Justice Harriman said: “The issue for consideration is whether in the face of the facts deposed to by the applicant herself, the respondent has the reason to make a report to the police. By her own affidavit, including her terms of employment attached, the applicant had sworn that she received monies from customers to woo them in the course of their stay and that the customers are made to pay extra as tips for the assistance and further niceties.
“This gives credence to the allegation of the respondent that the monies of the 6th respondent (Signatious Hotel and Suites Ltd) are diverted and that the applicant and her colleagues are using the Hotel facilities for their pecuniary benefits. I find that it was reasonable in the circumstance for the respondent to make a report to the police.
“It is then left for the police to use their discretion to prosecute. I find that the criminal prosecution was struck out does not remove from the fact that the respondent had every right to make a report to the police.
“All in all, I find that the affidavit in support does not meet the threshold of proof to enable me grant the orders sought. The application is dismissed with N50, 000 cost in favour of the 1st respondent”, he said.