Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 10 May 2019 | 1,355 times
Anambra State High Court, sitting at Otuocha, has ordered the Commissioner of Police in the State and two others to pay Mr. Emmanuel Chinenye Arinze the sum of N15million as damages for infringing on his fundamental rights.
The order was made following an application for Fundamental Rights Enforcement made to the court by one Chinenye Arinze through his team of lawyers led by Prof. Ilochi Okafor, SAN, and seven others.
Supporting his application through a statement on oat, Mr. Arinze claimed that the officer in charge of Aguleri Police Area Command, Mr. Abdu Osu, and another police officer, sergeant Oviaede Mamode had on December 3, 2018, arrested, tortured, humiliated and detained him in a police cell at Aguleri Area Command on December 4, 2018 till dawn.
According to the applicant, the action of the two officers who he said were working as agents of the state commissioner of Police was unconstitutional and a gross violation of his fundamental rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty and freedom of movement, as guaranteed under sections 34,35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
He prayed the court to declare the action of the officers who are the 1st and second respondents in the case, as a violation of his fundamental human rights and also award him damages to the tune of One Hundred million naira, for the breach of his rights.
Delivering his judgement, the presiding judge, Justice Dilibe Amaechina, affirmed that the police officers actually used the force of their might to torture and intimidate the Applicant, who was a young lawyer that went to the police Area Command to facilitate an amicable settlement of a land transaction involving his clients.
He said that the 1st and 2nd respondents in a naked show of power tried to bludgeon the Applicant into submission, by intimidating, torturing, humiliating, assaulting, beating and pushing him inside the police cell.
The Judge said: “The show of power being exhibited by policemen in the country was becoming too frequent and must be discouraged.
“The police authorities must do something about this, as it has the undesirable effect of denigrating the police force in the eyes of the public and eroding the confidence of the people in the ability of the police to protect lives and property.”
The court therefore ordered the respondents to pay the Applicant the sum of fifteen million naira as damages for the breach of his fundamental rights.
Counsel to the applicant, Mr. Pere Oseme, while urging the Nigerian Police to comply with the order expressed satisfaction over the judgement and urged authorities of the Nigeria Police to comply with the court order.
He enjoined them to subsequently deploy their internal mechanism of discipline to punish those erring officers so it would serve as a deterrent to others.
Another legal practitioner, Mr. Greg Ofodile, described the judgement as “an exemplary act of judicial activism that would go a long way in checking the excesses of policemen in Nigeria.”
He explained that police authorities could pay the judgement sum and later deduct the amount from retirement benefits of those officers involved.
A law teacher at Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University, Dr. A.U Abonyi, urged members of the public whose rights have been infringed or likely to be infringed, to approach the courts for redress saying that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man.
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