The Federal High Court sitting in Minna, Niger State capital on Thursday directed the Bida Emirate Council to pay N22m as compensation to members of an Islamic sect, Salafiyya.

The court presided over by Justice Sabiu Yahuza, ordered the Bida Emirate to pay the amount for unlawful destruction of properties of members of the sect.

The court gave the ruling in the suit instituted by the Salafiyya sect in Bida in April 2009 against the Bida Emirate Council and the state attorney-general and commissioner of justice.

The sect members in the suit had prayed the court to direct the respondents to pay compensation to its members for damage done to them, as well as the illegal destruction of their properties and illegal detention of members of the sect in a cell being operated in the area.

The sect had accused the Bida Emirate Council of sponsoring an attack against its members, following a disagreement with another group during the 2009 Maulud day celebration.

Delivering judgement, Yahuza ruled that members of the religious sect were victimised and lost their properties.

The judge directed that N2m should be paid to members for damages, while the sum of N20m should be paid as compensation for destruction of their properties.

The judge also described the detention cell where members of the Islamic sect were detained in Bida as illegal.

The representative of the Islamic sect, Mallam Adamu Umar, expressed happiness over the ruling, which he said would serve as a deterrent to others who might want to take advantage of others.

The lawyer to the Bida Emirate Council, Mohammed Rabiu, who was represented by Onoche Odu, in an interview with our correspondent shortly after the ruling, said he would consult with his clients on the possibility of an appeal.

The lawyer for the Salafiya sect, Mr.Akingbade Oyenekan, in his own reaction commended the court over the ruling.