Victim of human rights violation gets N2m
An FCT High Court on Friday ordered the Nigeria Police to pay two million naira compensation to Mark Sani for violating his fundamental human rights.
In his ruling, Justice Yusuf Halilu, said he awarded damages against the police for having kept the applicant for an unreasonable period of time.
Halilu said that the court considered the fact presented and was convinced that the relief sought by the applicant for general damages was most necessary.
He noted that no amount could serve as restitution of human right in view of its divine and mortal value.
“No amount can buy human right; the attitude of the Nigeria police most time is tyrannical and unprofessional.
The era when suspects are meant to serve sentence in police dungeon before arraignment and conviction is gone. Police must learn to limit itself within the confines of law.
“Human beings no matter the offence alleged to have been committed, must be presumed innocent until conviction, in line with the provision of the constitution,’’ he said.
The judge said that the award against the police would make it more civilised and more professional in dealing with the citizens.
Sani was detained in police custody for alleged sell of a fake land in Lugbe, Abuja, to Oliver Otonyo, sometimes in 2012.
Counsel to the applicant, Mr Chinedu Anyawu, told the court that the police detained the defendant in its custody for more than seven days without trial.
Anyanyu said that the defendant was illegally detained for allegedly selling a fake piece of land in Lugbe Area of Abuja, to r Otonyo in 2012.
He said that the then Ministry of FCT later announced its intention to redesign all land allocations, including the one sold to Otonyo in the area.
He said that his client on getting the information appealed to Otonyo that he would be reallocated another piece of land in place of the one sold to him which the ministry later did.
The counsel told the court that Otonyo could not keep his calm but reported his client to the police, alleging that he sold a fake piece of land to him.
He said that his client was first arrested in Dec. 14, 2014 and detained for days before being taken to the office of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) where he also spent some days.
The counsel said that it contravened Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution.
Anyawu said that the detention of his client for more than seven days without trial was a gross violation of his fundamental human right.
He said that the police should have acted speedily by charging the matter to court instead of detaining his client on a pure civil matter.
The counsel prayed the court to declare the arrest and detaining of his client illegal, ultra vires and unconstitutional.
He said that such an action by the police was cruelty, an abuse of power and violation of the applicant’s fundamental right.
He prayed the court for a compensation of damages of N50 million and N10 million for exemplary damages for the unlawful and unwarranted infraction of the applicant’s right.