Court fines Ogun CP, 5 others N25m over unlawful detention

By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta

The Ogun State Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alamutu and five others have been ordered to pay a N25 million fine as damages for the wrongful arrest and detention of one Sunday Mafe.

The ruling was issued by a High Court in Ogun State, Abeokuta Judicial Division, on Tuesday.

In the judgment delivered the same day, but signed by Justice E.O. Osinuga on Monday, February 5, 2024, the court found that Mafe’s multiple detentions by the Nigeria Police Force violated his fundamental human rights.

These detentions, occurring between December 2 and December 29, 2016, were deemed unlawful and unconstitutional. Also, the case was said to have been initiated by a petition from lawyer Yomi Nuberu on behalf of Chief Sakirudeen Olufowobi regarding a civil and land matter beyond police jurisdiction.

The court emphasized that police responsibilities do not extend to civil transactions or land disputes.

Parties to the case, titled Case HCJ/150/2017 involved Mafe and several police officers, including the Ogun State Commissioner of Police.

Mafe alleged unjust detention and false accusations of possessing arms and ammunition, as well as involvement in a civil transaction with Olufowobi.

As a result, Justice Osinuga awarded Mafe N25 million in damages for his unlawful detention.

The judgement read, “Having resolved issues 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 in favour of the claimant/applicant, I hold that the claim of claimant/applicant against the respondents succeeds accordingly, it is ordered:

“The sum of N25,000,000.00 (twenty-five million naira) is hereby awarded for the applicant and against the 1-6 respondents jointly and severally as general and compensatory damages for breach of the applicant’s fundamental rights as enshrined in Sections 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

“An order mandating/compelling the respondents to tender public apology to the applicant for breach of his fundamental rights in writing and in two national newspapers within four months of this judgment, giving three months window to appeal.

“A declaration that the respondents should stop harassing the applicant with threats of further arrest and stop using the machinery of police as a tool for intimidation and oppression of the applicant as it relates to facts disclosed in this suit.”

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