Court Awards N5m To ACN Members


Justice Ekpo of the Federal High Court, Lokoja has awarded N5 million as damages to some chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Lagos State, over unlawful detention and violation of fundamental human right by the police on their way to Abuja.

The aggrieved ACN chieftains, led by the former Chairman of Surulere Local Government, Dr. Rasaq Oyesegun Folami, had gone to the Federal High Court, Lokoja, to enforce their fundamental human right after they were prevented by the police from entering Abuja on September 21, 2011 to witness the case instituted by the Code of Conduct Bureau against the ACN national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Barrister Adejoke from Muiz Banire’s chambers filed the action against the Inspector-General of Police and the Kogi State Commissioner of Police for detaining the ACN members for several hours, thereby preventing them from entering Abuja, to witness the trial of Asiwaju Tinubu.

Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Ekpo condemned the action of the police led by an assistant commissioner of police.

Justice Ekpo wondered why the police should suddenly turned against members of the society who they ought to protect. He further described the action of the police as gross misconduct and violation of the fundamental human right of the ACN members who were only expressing one of their fundamental human rights, of free movement as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.

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For turning itself into a tool in the hands of the government, the judge awarded the sum of N5 million as damages to the 20 ACN members detained, to serve as a deterrent to other police officers who may want to toe the same line.

In his response after the judgment, counsel to the plaintiffs, Barrister Adejoke described it as a landmark, stressing that the action of the judge will serve as an eye opener to the police that the era of unwarranted violation of fundamental human rights of citizens was over. He also praised the judge for his courage in delivering what he described as a “judgment that has restored the hope of the common man who sees the judiciary as his last hope.”

The plaintiffs who were detained and prevented by the police from entering the FCT include Dr. Rasaq Oyesegun Folami, Babatunde Lawanson, Yakubu Akinlagun, Owolabi Subair, Olayemi Omoniyi, Kolapo Olatunji, Yusuf Lawal, Ayo Adesanya,Tunde Abodurin, Femi Oserinde and Kola omotosho.

Others are Segun Desalu, Seyi Omotosho, Wale Aina, Jide Alli-Balogun, Olanrewaju Subair, Femi, Suru and others.

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