A high court in Awka has awarded the sum of N10 million in damages against the Nigeria Police Force and the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG Abutu Yaro, in charge of Zone 13 of the Nigeria Police headquartered in Awka, over the illegal detention of a businessman.
Awka is the capital of Anambra, a state in Southeast Nigeria.
The businessman said to be a real estate developer and identified as Chukwuemeka Ekwueme was said to have been illegally detained by the police, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The presiding judge, Justice D. A. Onyefulu, in the suit numbered A/Misc 461/2022 which Ekwueme filed against the police to enforce his rights to freedom, also awarded the sum of N200,000 as cost of litigation in favour of Ekwueme. Justice Onyefulu further restrained the police from arresting, detaining, harassing or intimidating Ekwueme on the same matter and ruled that the police should, instead prefer charges against him.
NAN further reports that counsel for Ekwueme, Alex Ejesieme (SAN), had told the court that the police arrested and detained his client between December 14 and December 28, 2022, without charging him.
According to the lawyer, the arrest and detention were in relation to an attempt by Ekwueme to develop a parcel of land at Oba International Airport in the Idemili South Local Government Area of the state. Ejesieme argued that the police arrested his client based on a petition by the community and detained him without prosecuting him.
Ekwueme had also included the police spokesperson at Zone 13 of the Nigeria Police Force, Nkiru Nwode and an officer in the office of the spokesperson, Emmanuel Awah, as defendants in the suit. The court also ordered the immediate release of Ekwueme on December 28, 2022, following a bail application by his counsel.