Court Fines Police N2m For Violating Man’s Fundamental Human Rights
A High Court of Justice in Ogun State, Ijebu-Ode Division has awarded N2m damages against the Nigeria Police for the unlawful arrest and detention of one Abolaji Alaba.
According to a judgement obtained on Monday, November 4, 2023, signed by Honourable Justice A.A Omoniyi on September 29, 2023, the court held that the arrest of Alaba was patently unlawful, unjustified and unconstitutional, adding that the rights of the applicant were violated.
The judge also held that the detention of the applicant, Alaba, by agents of the Nigeria Police at the facility of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Magbon, Abeokuta from June 25, 2018, to July 1, 2018, was without lawful justification, unconstitutional, unlawful and illegal.
The case with suit No. HCJ/184/2020 was between the applicant Abolaji Alaba and the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Ogun State, the Police Public Relations Officer and other policemen.
The application was brought in accordance to Order 1Rule 2(1), 2 and 3 Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009, and to Articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 18 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) 2014 and Section 3, 35, 36 and 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
According to the suit, Alaba held that he was arrested in June 2020 by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad for alleged armed robbery, robbery, kidnapping, attempted murder, and receiving money by false pretence to the tune of N25m, a crime he did not commit.
He also alleged that he was paraded by the police before the media who published him in the paper, a violation of his fundamental human rights.
The application read, “Precisely, on Thursday, June 25, 2018, around 11.25 pm, members of the SARS led by the 5th respondent, in the company of about six other policemen came to my residence at No 32, Asanke Quarters, Ijebu Ode-Epe Expressway to arrest me.
“That after my arrest, my house was searched, and nothing incriminating was found. I was taken along with two others, to the SARS office at Magbon, opposite Obasanjo Library, Abeokuta, Ogun state.
“That on getting to the SARS office, I was brought out and mugshots of me were taken alleging me of armed robbery, robbery, attempted murder, kidnapping etc. A copy of the statement made by me is hereby exhibited and marked.
“That afterwards, I was detained in the new Cell 2.”
Alaba asked that the police should pay him N20m as damages, have a declaration, a restraining order and a public apology for the violation of his human rights.
However, the judge, Omoniyi, awarded the sum of N2m to be paid to him as damages for his unlawful arrest and detention by the police.
The judgement read, “It is upon the foregoing that I must hold that the 6th Respondent and the four other policemen who effected the arrest of the applicant as contained in paragraph six of the respondent counter affidavit have no reasonable ground for the arrest.
“The sum of N2m only is awarded jointly and severally against the respondents as damages for unlawful arrest and detention.
“There shall be the cost of the action which is hereby accessed at N100.000 payable to the applicant by the respondents,” Omoniyi added.