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Court orders army to pay N5m for illegal arrest, detention

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Buratai pledges improved welfare for troops in 2020

The Nigerian Army has been ordered to pay N5m to Alhaji Salmanu Bature Muhammad for flagrant violation of his fundamental human rights.

The order was made yesterday by the Plateau State High Court 5 presided over by Justice Daniel Longji in its judgement in a suit filed by Muhammad through his counsel, Akib Idris.

The applicant had, under Order 2, Rules 2 and 3 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure, chapter IV of the Nigerian constitution, filed the suit against the Nigerian Army, chief of defence staff, commander of Operation Save Haven (OPSH) and Major P.A. Omoniyi, a 2 IC with Sector 5 of the OPSH at Kura Falls in Barkin Ladi, alleging flagrant violation of his rights by way of unlawful arrest and detention for several days by Major Omoniyi in May 2019.

His counsel, Idris, had told the court that the 4th respondent unlawfully arrested the applicant twice and detained him for several days in an unhygienic place over alleged cattle rustling perpetrated by the applicant’s son, Kabiru Bature.

The court had fixed November 15th, 2019 for Major Omoniyi to appear and give oral evidence, but he did not appear.

Consequently, Justice Longji, in his judgement, declared that the 4th respondent neglected to appear and give oral evidence, therefore, the counter affidavit filed by his counsel had no merits and it was, therefore, dismissed.

“The respondent has no rights to detain and investigate the applicant. In Nigerian laws, it is not allowed,” he ruled.

Justice Longji further ordered that the military should not re-arrest, detain or harass the applicant.

“For the respondent to arrest and detain the applicant over an alleged offence committed by someone, it is not only illegal but it is barbaric,” he declared.

Justice Longji ordered the military to pay N5 million as damages to Muhammad.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has assured the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD) of improved welfare package in 2020.

According to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report, Buratai, who gave the assurance while addressing the troops during an operational visit to Pulka in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno yesterday, said the government had assured the army of its commitment to the welfare of officers and men of the armed forces as well as those of their families.

Buratai said: “I know the importance of this location and you have done your best in ensuring that the security here is maintained. So I commend you for the wonderful performance and the way you have conducted yourselves in OPLD.

“I am here to see you, I have been to other places and I seize this opportunity to come and see you before the end of the year and wish you well in the coming year.

“We appreciate you for being so gallant, for decimating the Boko Haram terrorists and I urge you to maintain it, you must remain focused, disciplined and professional.

“We will do everything possible to ensure your comfort, especially your families in the barracks as well.”


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