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Court orders police to pay N1m damages to lawyer

14 November 2013, 19:37

Makurdi - A Federal High Court in Makurdi on Thursday ordered the Benue Command of the Nigeria Police to pay one million naira to Apaa Ayie as damages for violating his fundamental human rights.

Ayie, who is the Legal Officer of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), filed the suit against Insp. Kartyor Terwase, Mr Theophilus Ajila and the Commissioner of Police, Benue Command.

The plaintiff, in his testimony before the court, said that he was arrested, tortured and detained on February 5 by the defendants in the course of his duty at Lessel in Ushongo Local Government Area of Benue.

He said that he went to Lessel Police Station to secure the bail of some members of staff of BSIEC who were detained there but all the efforts failed.

Ayie further said that he promised to take legal action against the police, and the second defendant, who is the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO), ordered him out of the police station.

He said he was already leaving the station when the first defendant ordered him back and slapped him while other officers joined and they collectively beat him up and detained him.

In his argument counsel for the plaintiff, Patrick Adi, said that his client’s fundamental rights guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution had been breached by his arrest, torture and detention.

Adi told the court that the plaintiff’s statement of taking legal action against the police did not warrant the ill-treatment meted out to him.

Counsel, therefore, prayed the court to order the police to pay N70 million damages.

He, further urged the court to order the defendants to publish an apology to his client in three daily newspapers.

Delivering judgment, Justice Binta Nyako said that the police had not justified why they infracted on the fundamental rights of the plaintiff.
Nyako said that no prima facie case of any alleged commission of any offence had been established against the plaintiff.

The judge therefore awarded the sum of N1 million to the plaintiff as damages instead of the sum of N70 million sought in his relief.

She also ordered that the police should write an apology to the plaintiff, warning that they should desist from harassing the plaintiff.


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