Police to Pay N1m Damages for Human Rights Violation, Says Court

CourtA Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has ordered the Nigerian Police Force to pay N1m damages for illegally detaining one Mark Sani for seven days.

While awarding the sum, Justice Halilu Yusuf ruled that the law enforcement agency breached the fundamental human rights of Sani.

He held that although the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for arrest by the Police, upon suspicion of anybody who committed a crime, such a person must be charged to court within a reasonable period of time.

Counsel to Sani, Mr Chinedu Akubue had told the court that Paul Udofia, the first defendant bought a plot of land situated at Lugbe, Abuja from Sani in 2014.

He added that the land in question was later revoked by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, in the same year, which prompted Udofia to report to the police.

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Akubue said Udofia alleged that the applicant, the owner of Grow Venture Ltd sold a fake land to him and failed to address his complaints.

According to him, Sani has explained that he bought the land from the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, before the FCTA began the revocation.

Akubue said he further explained to Udofia that plot and estate owners in the affected area had held series of meetings with the then Minister of the FCT , Bala Mohammed.

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He maintained that Sani told Udofia that the minister promised to reallocate another plot to him and the others and urged him to exercise patience. But rather than exercising patience, he said Udofia reported to the police.

The counsel said Sani explained the matter to the police and pleaded for administrative bail, but the Police detained him for two days, adding that the matter was transferred to the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, where Sani was detained for five more days.

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