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Abused Abuja women get justice

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Federal High Court, Abuja

Court grants Ponzi Scheme operator bail

A Federal High Court, Abuja, has ruled in favour of six women, who were harassed and abused during raids by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), police and other law enforcement agents.

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In April 2019, Police officers and AEPB officials stormed hotels, supermarkets and other centres of business in Abuja, harassing women indiscriminately in the name of arresting sex workers.

Hajiya Safiya Umar, the Acting Secretary Social Development Secretariat of the FCT, allegedly commissioned the invasion, which led to “a recurring decimal for women”.

It was gathered that the women arrested during the raids suffered sexual violations, physical and mental torture while in detention at the Utako Police Station, Abuja.

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The assaulted women, through a team of lawyers comprising of Deji Ajare, Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Bamidele Jacobs, Jennifer Ogbogu, Miriam Orika, Chigoziem Onugha, Augusta Yaakugh led by Sterling Law Centre, filed public interest suits seeking to enforce their fundamental human rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement, right to personal dignity, freedom from torture, freedom of association and freedom from discrimination.

After over two years of trial, Justice Evelyn Maha in her judgment on August 5, held that the arrest of the applicants without cause, the beating, molestation and dehumanising treatment, detention of the applicants and the barring of the applicants from accessing legal representation, was a violation of their rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

She awarded between N2 million and N4 million in damages against the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Inspector General of Police and Inspector Thomas Nzemekwe AKA ‘Yellow’ in favour of the six applicants.

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The court also held that the 6th respondent, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, was presumptuous in its role and acted ultra vires, beyond its scope and powers regarding the raids.
Justice Maha further issued an injunction restraining the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other listed respondents from arresting women in such circumstances and in a manner that discriminates on the basis of gender.

MEANWHILE, a federal High Court, Lagos has admitted a 22 years old man, Joshua Adeyinka Kayode, who allegedly defrauded 170 people of the sum of N10.8 billion under a fake investment scheme to bail.

Trial judge, Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted him bail, in the sum of N2 billion with two sureties in like sum.

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Justice Oweibo ordered that each of the sureties must own a landed property within the court’s jurisdiction and must depose to an affidavit of means.

The judge also ordered that the two sureties and the defendant must deposit two passport photographs with the Court’s Registrar and that the defendant must also deposit his international passport with the court’s registrar.

While adjourning the defendant’s trial to November 10, the judge ordered that the prosecutor must verify all the bail terms and that the defendant be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) till he perfects his bail terms.

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Justice Oweibo ruled on the bail application, after taking arguments from the defendant’s counsel, Mr. Emeka Okpoko (SAN) and the prosecutor, Mr. Tijjani Williams.

The defendant alongside his company, Quintessential Investment Company Limited were arraigned before the court on August 5, by the men of Force Criminal Investigation Department (Force CID) Annex, Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos, on 170 count charges bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence.

The prosecutor, Williams, during the arraignment, told the court that the defendant and others now at large, committed the offences between July 2020 and March 2021.

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