Court orders CP, others to pay lawyer N15m

An Anambra State High Court sitting in Otuocha, Anambra East Local Government Area has ordered the Commissioner of Police in the state and two others to pay N15m to a lawyer, Emmanuel Arinze, as damages for infringing on his rights.

The order was made following an application for fundamental human rights enforcement to the court by Arinze through his lawyers led by Prof. Ilochi Okafor, (SAN).

Arinze had alleged in his claims that the officer in charge of Aguleri Police Area Command, Mr Abdu Osu and Sergeant Oviaede Mamode had on December 3, 2018, arrested, tortured, humiliated and detained him in a police cell at Aguleri Area Command till the following day.

The applicant stated that the action of the two officers, who were working as agents of the state Commissioner of Police was unconstitutional and a gross violation of his fundamental rights to the dignity of human, personal liberty and freedom of movement, as guaranteed under sections 34, 35, and 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

He prayed the court to declare the action of the officers as a violation of his fundamental human rights. The victim further urged the court for an award of damages in the sum of N15m for the breach of his rights.

In his judgement, Justice Dilibe Amaechina, affirmed that the police officers used the force of their might to torture and intimidate the applicant, who was a young lawyer that went to the Police Area Command to facilitate an amicable settlement of a land transaction involving his clients.

Justice Amaechina maintained that the 1st and 2nd respondents, “In a naked show of power tried to bludgeon the applicant into submission, by intimidating, torturing, humiliating, assaulting, beating and pushing him inside the police cell.

 “The show of power being exhibited by policemen in the country is becoming too frequent and must be discouraged.

“The police authorities must do something about this, as it has the undesirable effect of denigrating the police force in the eyes of the public and eroding the confidence of the people in the ability of the police to protect lives and property.”

The court ordered the respondents to pay the applicant the sum of N15m as damages for the breach of his fundamental human rights.

Speaking, one of the counsels for the applicant, Pere Oseme, hailed the judgement and urged the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force to comply with the court order.

He also asked the police to deploy their internal mechanism of discipline to punish the erring officers to serve as a deterrent to others.

In his opinion, another lawyer, Greg Ofodile described the judgement as an exemplary act of judicial activism that would go a long way in checking the excesses of policemen in Nigeria.

He asked the police authorities to deduct N15m from the salaries and gratuities of the offending police officer.

A law teacher at the Faculty of Law, Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University, Dr A.U. Abonyi, in his reaction, urged members of the public, whose rights had been “infringed upon to approach the courts for redress, adding that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man.”
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