Court orders CP to pay Suntai's aide N2.5m

By The Citizen

A Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo, the Taraba state capital, has ordered the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Jibril Adeniji, to pay N2.5m to the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Governor Danbaba Suntai, Mr. Sylvanus Giwa; and five others for illegal arrest and detention.

Justice Donatus Okorowo, who gave the verdict on Monday, said the act violated the fundamental human rights of the plaintiffs.

Giwa and the other plaintiffs had dragged Adeniji to court, alleging that their rights were infringed upon by the police commissioner when he unjustly arrested them in the heat of the political crisis in the state engendered by the return of ailing Suntai from overseas treatment.

In the suit, the plaintiffs, through their counsel, E.A Ibrahim Effiong, had asked the court to declare that their arrest and detention constituted a flagrant disregard and wilful violation of their inalienable rights as guaranteed under section 34 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 5 of the African Charter.

They had also asked the commissioner to publish a public apology in two national newspapers over his action and that the CP should pay N1bn as damages.

In his judgment, Okorowo said that not only were the plaintiffs assaulted by the police, they were also 'dehumanised and degraded'

Citing relevant sections of the 1999 constitution as amended, the judge said that the police had no 'basis for the arrest and detention of the five applicants.'

He said, 'The respondents have no justifications whatsoever to restrict the movements of the applicants,' he ruled.

'There is no basis for the arrest of the applicants. They have rights as citizens to meet anywhere. The arrest and detention of the applicants are illegal and they are and entitled to damages in terms of compensation.'

Counsel for the CP, Henry Ogbeiwi, described the judgment as 'sound' but he said he might go to the court of appeal.