Abuja Court orders DSS to pay N5m each to two illegally detained “IPOB members” | NN NEWS

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A Federal High Court holden at Abuja has, on Friday, 20th May, 2022, ordered the Department of State Security (DSS) to pay N5 million a man illegally accused and detained as member of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The applicant, Mr. Nweke Ndubuisi Emmanuel had, through his counsel, Bala Dakum Esq., in suit no: FHC/ABJ ICS/1437/2021, asked the court to order for their release and compensation.

He also prayed the court to order the release of his Toyota Venza, 2009 Model with Abuja Plate Number — YAS 213 SO.

Barrister Dakum, in an Originating Motion dated 19th November, 2021, prayed the Court for the following reliefs:

(a) A declaration that the arrest and continued detention of the Applicant since the 9th October, 2021 to date by the Respondent, its privies, agents, officers or representatives, is illegal, unlawful, null and void and amounts to gross violation of his fundamental rights as enshrined in Sections 34, 35, 36 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

(b) An Order of the Honourable Court directing the Respondent to immediately release the Applicant unconditionally.

(c) An Order of this Honourable Court directing the Respondent to pay the Applicant the sum of N20,OOO,OOO.00 (twenty million Naira only) as damages for unlawful detention.

The Counsel submitted that, every person is entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in accordance with a procedure permitted by law.

He maintained that the arrest and detention of the Applicant as set out in the Affidavit in Support is contrary to Section 35(1) of the Constitution 1999 (as amended).

He submitted that the treatment meted out on the Applicant is not administrative procedure but a deliberate act to punish him which amounts to violation of his fundamental rights to freedom of liberty and presumption of innocence.

Dakum also insisted that DSS lacks the powers to forcefully acquire the Toyota Venza of the Applicant without regards to due process.

He submitted that, the seizure of the Applicant’s car upon his arrest violates his fundamental rights under Section 44(1) of the Constitution.

Ruling, the presiding Judge, His Lordship Hon. Justice Z. B. Abubakar, noted that aside from the unlawful arrest and detention of the Applicant, which the Respondent did not deny, the Respondent did not also deny nor justify the forceful acquisition of the Applicant’s vehicle.

The action, he held, contravenes the provisions of Section 44(1) of the Constitution in relation to the Applicant, and did not fall under the exception of the Constitution.

Therefore, based on the foregoing, Justice Abubakar held that the applicant has proved the infringement of his fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

Consequently, granting reliefs (a), (b), (d) as prayed by the Applicant, he awarded the sum of N5,OOO,OOO.OO (five million Naira) as compensation against DSS as damages for the unlawful detention.

He also order the release of his Toyota Venza, 2009 Model with Abuja Plate Number — YAS 213 SO.

The judge also ordered DSS to tender a formal apology to the Applicant by publishing same in one National daily News.

Similarly, in a separate ruling with suit no: FHC/ABJ ICS/1436/2021 between Eze Obiora Charles and the Department of State Security, Justice Abubakar awarded the sum of N5,OOO,OOO.OO (five million Naira) as compensation against DSS as damages for the unlawful detention of the Applicant.

The Applicant had, through his Counsel, Barrister Dakum, prayed the Court for the following reliefs:

(a) A declaration that the arrest and continued detention of the Applicant since the 9th October, 2021 to date by the Respondent, its privies, agents, officers or representatives, is illegal, unlawful, null and void and amounts to gross violation of his fundamental rights as enshrined in Sections 34, 35, 36 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

(b) An Order… directing the Respondent to immediately release the Applicant unconditionally.

(c) An Order… directing the Respondent to pay the Applicant the sum of N20,OOO,OOO.OO (Twenty Million Naira only) as damages for unlawful detention.

The Counsel submitted that every person is entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in accordance with a procedure permitted by law.

He insisted that the arrest and detention of the Applicant as set out in the Affidavit in Support is contrary to Section 35(1) of the Constitution 1999 (as amended).

He stressed that the treatment meted out on the Applicant is not administrative procedure but a deliberate act to punish him which amounts to violation of his fundamental rights to freedom of liberty and presumption of innocence.

He further submitted that DSS lacks the powers to forcefully acquire Toyota Camry, 2010 model with Lagos plate Number, FST 936 HB, being the property of the Applicant, without regards to due process and that the seizure of the Applicant’s car upon his arrest violates his fundamental rights under Section 44(1) of the Constitution.

Based on the foregoing, the judge held that the applicant has proved the infringement of his fundamental rights guaranteed under Sections 35, 36 and 44 of the Constitution against the Respondent which infringements the Respondent failed to justify.

Consequently, he granted reliefs (a), (b), (d) as prayed by the Applicant and awarded the sum of N5,OOO,OOO.OO (five million Naira) as compensation against the Respondent as damages for his unlawful detention by DSS.

He also order the release of his Toyota Camry and ordered DSS to tender a formal apology to the Applicant by Publishing same in one National daily Newspaper.

Reacting in an interview with News Band after the ruling, Dakum hailed the court for the judgment.

He, meanwhile, noted that there are many other innocent Igbo guys languishing in detention on this same allegation.

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