Court fines SSS for stripping Peace Corps officers naked

Posted by Simon Imobo-Tswam, Abuja | 23 April 2013 | 6,735 times

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For being overzealous to the point of stripping naked officers of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), the  State Security Service (SSS) got more than it bargained for when a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, yesterday awarded the sum of N5 million against it.

The Peace Corp officers, led by the Zamfara State Commander, Mustapha Umar Gusau, were stripped naked during a public function in the state.

The court, presided by Justice E.S. Chukwu, furthered ordered the SSS operatives to desist, forthwith, from henceforth harassing officers and men of the Peace Corps.

“The continued circulation of circulars directing the arrest and harassment of the plaintiff’s officers without approval from the government is an aberration of fundamental human rights of the plaintiffs and therefore illegal and unconstitutional. Harassment of the plaintiffs by the 1st and 2nd defendants without just course is unlawful and not justified,” Justice Chukwu ruled.

He added: “What is a moral justification of the SSS for stripping the corps members naked in public? It is an aberration of the law and against the principles of fundamental human rights and African charter on human and people’s rights. The SSS has no right to harass the Corps except with cogent and verifiable evidence and since there is no such evidence in this case, the SSS do not have the right to act in the manner they did.

“I am particular about the a case where the plaintiff stated thus: In Zamfara State, on May 28, 2012 the 5th applicant as a state commandant of the 1st applicant who led 14 other members of the organisation to a state government function in the state were not only harassed but seriously embarrassed and humiliated when officers of the respondents armed to the teeth arrested them and directed them to remove the uniforms of the organisation they were wearing on the ground that the 1st applicant is an illegal organisation.

“That when the 5th and the other 14 members of the organisation refused to remove their uniform as they were instructed by the officers of the 1st and 2nd respondents, they were stripped naked in public to the gaze of everybody present at the function.”

Photo shows SSS spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar.

Source: News Express

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