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Alleged Unlawful Arrest: Court Dismisses Kanu Lawyer’s Appeal Against DSS 

 

 

The Court of Appeal Abuja has dismissed the appeal brought before it by Felix Okonkwo, one of the lawyers to the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, over his unlawful arrest and detention by the Police and the Department of State Services (DSS).

Delivering Judgement, Justice Okon Abang dismissed the appeal for want of merit and substance.

Justice Abang held that the appellant failed to establish miscarriage of justice in the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja in the matter.

He further held that from the video footage tendered as exhibit by the appellants at the trial court, there was no where the operatives of the SSS were found at the scene of their arrest in the house of Ifeanyi Ejiofor in Anambra state.

The appellate court Justice disagreed with the appellants in their claims that the N2 million compensatory damages was grossly insufficient.

According to Justice Abang, the decision to award compensatory damages is at the discretion of a Judge and cannot be dictated by any plaintiff or appellant.

In the instant case, Justice Abang agreed with Justice Bature that peculiar facts and circumstances of the unlawful arrest and detention of the appellants were carefully considered at the trial court before arriving at the amount.

Besides, Justice Abang said that the appellants did not point out irrelevant facts in the judgment of the high court and did not also disclose their status in the society, their their monthly or yearly income and also what they lost in the course of their detention.

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Justices Joseph Olubunmi Kayode Oyewole and Abba Bello Mohammed endorsed the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Abang.

The appellants comprising of Felix Okonkwo, Ikenna Chibuike and Okafor Ugochukwu had sued the Nigeria Police Force and the SSS before the high court for the enforcement of their fundamental human rights.

They specifically accused the two security agencies of violating their fundamental rights by their unlawful arrest and detention on September 27, 2021, during which they claimed that they were tortured, harassed and intimidated while in the custody of the Police.

Justice Samaila Bature had, in his judgment delivered on March 24, 2022 found Police liable for the unlawful arrest and detention of the the appellants and subsequently imposed a fine of N2 million against Police to be paid to the appellants.

Justice Bature however did not make any order against the SSS because the Appellants, then plaintiffs, did not disclose any cause of action against SSS.

Not satisfied with the findings and decisions of the high court, the three plaintiffs had approached the Court of Appeal praying for an order to hold that SSS was also culpable in their arrest and detention.

They claimed that the N2 million imposed on Police as fine to be paid to them was paltry and ridiculously low and asked the appellate court to jerk up the fine as compensation for their unlawful arrest and detention.

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