An Enugu State High Court sitting in Agbani in the Nkanu West Local Government Area of the state has awarded N1million against the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ammani, and 10 others for the illegal arrest and detention of one Chief Francis Nnamani and three of his family members.
The court awarded the N1million damages in favour of the applicants in Suit No. HAGB/47M/2022, between Chief Francis Nnamani, Uzodinma Nnamani, Ugochukwu Nnamani, and Charles Nnamani as First to Fourth Applicants, And Ikechukwu Ogbonna Nnamani, Ifeayichukwu Nwobodo, Uchenna Ogbonna, Nnajiofor Nnamani, Chinweuba Orji Nnamchi, Peter Nnamchi, Okwudiri Nnamani, Obumneke Nnamchi, Chijioke Orji, Inspector Amaechi Onyedikachi (IPO) and Commissioner of Police, Enugu State as First to Eleventh Respondents.
Delivering the judgment, the trial judge, Justice C. I. Nwobodo, held that by Section 35(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended no person shall be deprived of his liberty save as by a procedure permitted by law.
In a judgment order obtained by SaharaReporters on Friday, Justice Nwobodo in the judgment delivered on Wednesday ordered that Inspector Amaechi Onyedikachi (IPO) and the Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ammani who are the Tenth and Eleventh Respondents should desist from further harassing, arresting, and detaining the Applicants upon frivolous complaints of the 1 – 9th Respondents as in this instant application save that where the Applicants are found to have committed any offence after discrete investigation to charge them to Court.
The judgment partly read, “Upon considering the application, affidavits, and Exhibits tendered in this case; and after considering the final addresses of Counsel Charles Umahi Esq. for the Applicants, J.C. Ench Esq with U.D.M Chijioke (Mrs), and C.F. Oziri Esq, for the 1”- 9th Respondents, E.I. Ndon Esq. for the 10th and 11th Respondents.
“This Court hereby enters judgment as follows: The Court Orders that the applicants are entitled to their personal liberty as provided for in Section 35(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended and S.35 (1) thereof which provides that the Applicant’s liberty should not be deprived save upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence.
“The Court declares that a mere allegation in a petition to the police by a party or by the Respondents does not amount to a reasonable suspicion, only discrete investigation can show whether a reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence exists to ground an arrest and or detention.
“The Court Orders that the farm tools and matchets of the Applicants be returned to them by the Tenth and Eleventh Respondents.
“The Court awards the Applicants general damages to the tune of N1,000,000.00 (One million naira) only jointly and severally against the Respondents for violating their rights to personal liberty.”
The applicants are natives of Amodu Awkunanaw in Nkanu West LGA of Enugu State