Kaduna, March 15, 2017 [TNE): The Federal High Court in Kaduna has ordered the police to pay N2 million as exemplary damages to three persons unlawfully arrested and detained for 19 months.
The three persons, Idris Abubakar, Anas Abubakar and Aliyu Abubakar, instituted the case against the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Also joined in the suit were the Commissioner of Police in Kaduna State and the Divisional Police Officer, Kabala Police Station.
The complainants said that they were arrested by the police for alleged theft and detained for six days, after which the police claimed that they were members of Boko Haram.
The complainants said since their arrest, they were neither released nor taken to court, adding that their lawyers and relatives were denied access to them.
In his judgment, Justice Emeka Nwite ruled that the continued detention of the applicants violated their fundamental human rights.
He also ruled that the police had not provided any evidence to warrant their long detention or assertion that the three were members of the Boko Haram.
The judge dismissed the confessional statement tendered by the police in which the applicants confessed to being members of the insurgent group, saying that the document was not admissible in law.
“Again, they said incriminating items were recovered from the applicants buttressing that they are Boko Haram sect members.
“Not only did the applicants deny having any incriminating objects when they were arrested but the respondents did not exhibit any of the incriminating objects to buttress their claims,” Justice Nwite noted.
“In view of the foregoing analysis, I am of the view and so hold that in the said detention of the applicants, the police violated Section 35(5) (B) and 36 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended),” he ruled.
The judge, therefore, ordered the production of the applicants before the court or an outright release from police detention, in addition to the award of N2 million.
“I hereby make an order enforcing the applicants’ fundamental rights as guaranteed by Section 34, 35 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended,” he added. (TNE)