How Federal High Court (FHC) sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital has awarded the sum of N500,000.00 damage each to, Mr. John Onebi, Mr. Irmiya Asa and Ibrahim Bello, who are Plaintiffs in suit No: FHC/CS/28/2014, as compensation against the Inspector General (IG) of Police, the Plateau State Commissioner of Police (CP), for the breach of their fundamental rights.
The Court presided over by Hon. Justice A. Allagoa in its Judgment dated, Friday, 26thSeptember, 2014, revealed that defendants has violated the right of the Applicants’ Fundamental Rights were breached contrary to the provision of Section 35(1) of the Constitution.
According to him, The Section 136 of the 1999 Constitution says, “Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following case and in accordance with procedure permitted by Law.
“You would recall that the plaintiffs, Mr. John Onebi, Mr. Irmiya Asa and Ibrahim Bello, had dragged the IG of Police, the Commissioner of Police Plateau State Command, Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) PLC, Jafaru Abdulkadir and Ganiyu Lawal to court by way of Motion on Notice, date, 7/4/2014 and filed on 8/4/2014 for the enforcement of their Fundamental Rights, as guaranteed by Section 34(1), 35, 35(4), 35(6), 36(1), 36(4), and 36(5) of the Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria”.
The judgment also added that ,“The right and liberty is guaranteed by Section 35(1) of the Constitution and the deprivation of such liberty is only permitted within the exceptions listed in Section 35(1) a-f of the Constitution of the Federal Republic 1999 (as amended).
Adding, also that the judgment requires that it should be in accordance with procedure prescribed by Law. This in effect means that arrest and detention of a person must not be arbitram. See:- CHAHAL Vs UK (1997) 23 EHRR.
“The question therefore to be asked in this case is whether the arrest of the Applicants by the Agent of the 2nd Respondents is arbitrary or whether it followed due process of Law.
“In the present case the evidence is clear that since the arrest and detention of the Applicants by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents on the 17/3/2014, they remained in custody, they were not arraigned before any court of Law until they were granted bail by the honourable court, on 9/4/2014.
“The actions of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents were therefore in flagrant breach of the Applicants right as guaranteed by Section 35(1) of the C.F.R.N. 1999 (as amended).
“Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled to
Compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person and in this subsection the appropriate authority mean an authority or person specified by Law.
“In the circumstance therefore, I award the sum of N500, 000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) to each of the Applicants against the 2nd, 3rd and 4thRespondents as compensation severally and variously. This is the Judgment of the Honourable Court.