Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting in Maitama has ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to immediately release Chief Edward Okoye and Vincent Nwokolo from the police custody.
In addition, the court ordered the police to pay N6 million in favour of the two applicants as compensation for wrongful detention.
Justice Peter Affen gave the order after listening to arguments canvassed in the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the applicants’ counsel, Mr. Alex Ejesieme.
In the suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2538/2019, the applicants moved the court to declare that their arrest and detention since July 11, 2019, till date by the IGP and Mr. Ibrahim Angbasa, a Superintendent of Police and team leader, IGP monitoring unit, Abuja, is unlawful and illegal.
Ejesieme argued that the actions of the police also contravened his client’s right to personal liberty as enshrined in the 1999 constitution.
After listening to the application, Affen agreed with applicants’ counsel that “the detention of the applicants by the respondents from July 11, 2019, till date is unconstitutional, and constitutes a gross violation of the fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution.
“I equally record an order directing the respondents to immediately and unconditionally release the two applicants from detention forthwith without any further assurance.
“The respondents shall pay to each of the applicants N3 million as compensation for violation of their fundamental rights.
“The respondents, their servants, officers, agents, privies or otherwise, howsoever, are hereby restrained from further arresting, detaining or otherwise interfering with or breaching the applicants’ fundamental human rights on account of the very same facts and circumstances that led to their wrongful arrest and detention as aforesaid, save and unless upon the orders of a superior court of record.”