Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Gudu, in Apo, Abuja, has ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to pay N50 million damages to Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola, wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, the late Chief MKO Abiola, for violation of her fundamental human rights.
Zainab Abiola had filed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2431/2023 against the IGP and named the Nigeria Police Force, Inspector Teju Moses and Engineer Ibrahim (son of former IGP Usman Alkali Baba) as co-defendants to the suit.
The applicant, (Zainab Abiola) had in her statement of claim, demanded for N500 million in damages from the defendants for the infringement of her rights. Mrs. Abiola had alleged, amongst others, that she was arrested in her nightgown, tortured, and detained by officers and men of the IGP. bShe added that her detention between September 20 and September 23, 2022, without charging her to court was a violation of her rights, stating that the action of the defendants was unlawful and unconstitutional.
But the police and other defendants denied the allegations and joined issues with Mrs Abiola. The defendants further claimed that they did not know Mrs. Abiola while the plaintiff produced evidence before the court that she was appointed by the Police as the Chief Legal Consultant (CLC).
Delivering her judgment after listening to the parties, Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi held that the detention of Mrs. Abiola by the defendants without arraigning her in a court of competent jurisdiction was a gross violation of her right to personal liberty. The judge also directed the IGP and the other three defendants to tender a public apology to Mrs. Abiola in two of the national newspapers in pursuance of Section 35 (6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
In the certified true copy of Enrolled Order of the judgment dated November 29, 2023, with the official stamp on December 19, 2023, obtained on Thursday, Justice Osho-Adebiyi held, “ Upon the judgment delivered by this Honourable Court on the 29th day of November 2023, it is hereby ordered as follows:
“It is hereby declared that the detention of the applicant from the 20th day of September 2022 to the 23rd of September 2022, without arraigning her before a court of competent jurisdiction, is a violation of the applicant’s right to personal liberty under Section 35 of the Constitution and is therefore unlawful and unconstitutional.
“It is further declared that the arrest of the applicant by the Defendants in her nightgown without allowing her to dress decently is an infringement of her right to personal dignity it is more debasing and a further Infringement of her right to personal dignity when the applicant was paraded in her nightgown. In the circumstances, the sum of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira) only is awarded to the applicant as compensation against the 1′, 2., and 4” respondents jointly. “The respondents are hereby ordered to tender a public apology to the applicant in two of the National Daily e v ‘ Newspapers in pursuance of the provisions of Section 35 (6) I of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”