Tony John, Port Harcourt
A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt has ordered the Nigerian Army to pay the sum of N20 million as damages to the Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, Roland Sekibo, and two other persons, for harassment during the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The military had raided the homes of Sekibo, Tobins Tobins and Damiete Dokubo and declared them wanted over allegations of sponsoring hoodlums to truncate the electoral process to favour the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
In his judgment in the suit filed by Sekibo and others, Justice George Omereji condemned the military for issuing a statement indicting the accused persons as mastermind of events that occurred on February 23, during the 2019 presidential and National Assembly polls without granting them fair hearing. Justice Omereji declared that the actions of the military were anti-democratic.
He stated that it was wrong for the military to issue a statement declaring the three persons wanted hurriedly without the benefit of hearing from them.
Omereji, however, ordered the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army Staff to pay the sum of N20 million, as damages over the raid of their private homes.
Counsel for Sekibo, Ibim Dokubo said the judgment has proven that the chairman and others did not do any wrong in participating in the just concluded elections.