From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A senior staff of the National Gallery of Art, Mr Ephraim Goteng, has slammed a N100 million suit against the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the organisation, Mr Ebeten Ivara over alleged violations of his fundamental human rights that led to his arrest and unlawful detention by the police.
Also listed as respondents in the fundamental rights enforcement suit are the Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Tunji Disu; Superintendent of Police, Ayuba Nehemiah; Dr Simon Ikpakronyi and Dr Henry Achugbu (who are staff of the National Gallery of Art), Abuja.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1556/2021, the applicant, who is an Assistant Chief Procurement Officer, informed the Abuja division of the Federal High Court that his unlawful arrest, detention and ill-treatment by the police was orchestrated by the Director General of the National Gallery of Art, Ebeten Ivara.
He contended that his unlawful detention which was strictly motivated by malice and impunity a brazen disregard for his freedom to personal liberty and dignity as constitutionally guaranteed under section 35 (1) and section 34 (1) respectively of the 1999 constitution.
The applicant attributed his travails to a malicious petition written against him by the Director General of the National Gallery of Art, Ebeten Ivara (4th respondent) and submitted to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), a unit under the office of the Inspector General of Police, headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tuni Disu (2nd respondent).
The said petition accused the applicant of sending a series of anonymous text messages to the 4th respondent, threatening and abusing him
Acting on the said malicious petition, the applicant was invited by the 2nd respondent (DCP, Tunji Disu), for an interview and was subsequently unlawfully detained despite the fact that nothing incriminating was found on his handset.
That his arbitrary detention which was carried out and enforced by Ayuba Nehemiah, (a Superintendent of Police), acting under the supervision of the Inspector General of Police and Tunji Disu, a deputy commissioner of Police at the instigation and connivance of the 4th to 6th respondents, is a clear violation of his right as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
In urging the court to declare the continued acts of unwarranted threats, intimidation, harassment and further threats of his arrest and detention by the respondents as malicious, Goteng said he is innocent of all the unfounded, false and malicious allegations of criminal conspiracy and threats to life, false levelled against him by the 4th, 5th and 6th respondents.
Consequently, the applicant is seeking from the court, an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents especially the 1st to 3rd respondents, their officers, employees, servants, and privies, whether b themselves or through any other persons or authority from inviting, arresting, threatening to arrest, detaining him or breaching his fundamental human rights in any manner whatsoever.
Besides demanding a public apology from the respondents, the applicant has equally demanded for monetary compensation to the tune of N100 million as damages and another N2 million for the cost of litigation.
In a 27-paragraph affidavit in support of his case, Goteng, who personally deposed to the document averred that the act of intimidation orchestrated against him by the 4th responded with the help of the 5th and 6th respondents, is not unconnected with the petition he wrote to the Minister for Information and culture about the unlawful acts of his boss (4th respondent), including deliberately flouting of laid down Public Service rules, highhandedness and impunity in running the affairs of the organisation.