Bizman slams N1bn suit on police for alleged assault, torture
BY ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA—LAGOS based businessman, Chief Marcel Eze, has dragged the Nigerian Police to court, asking for N1 billion as general damages for alleged assault, deprivation of liberty, torture and other dehumanizing acts inflicted on him by police agents in November last year.
Eze , in the suit instituted at the Federal High Court, Umuahia, presided over by Justice Garuba Muhammed Umar, is praying that his “assault, dehumanization and eventual arrest and detention by the police at the Nigeria Police Zone 9 Umuahia cell from November 16, 2011, when he was arrested to November 21 2011, when he was released, constituted an infringement on his fundamental rights”.
Chief Eze hinged his claims on sections 34(1)(a), 35(1), (4) AND (6), and section 41(1) constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
Joined in the suit were the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Dahiru Abubakar; Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 9, Umuahia, Peter Ogunnyanwo, Zonal Administrative Officer in charge, Police Superintendent Nnam Uka, (alias Nze); Assistant Superintendent of Police, Eke Williams; Inspector Ogbu, Sergeant Onwudili and one police Constable Ngozi Nworgu, all of Nigeria Police Zone 9, Umuahia.
He alleged that they unlawfully arrested, detained and tortured him. In addition to the N1 billion claim, Eze is also seeking for the order of the court to be refunded a total sum of N98,000.00 which he alleged was jointly and severally extorted from him during the process of his arrest and detention.
The plaintiff is also seeking for “an order of injunction restraining the police, their servants, agents, officers and privies, howsoever constituted, from re-arresting or detaining him in respect of any undisclosed matter or offence being alleged against him in that regard”
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, Mr. Mike Okoye announced his appearance for one Elder Ani Egbuka, seeking to be joined in the suit as a party.
But Ferome Okolo, SAN, counsel to Eze, opposed the joinder application, saying the name of the man seeking to be joined was not in the suit and that he had no reason responding to a matter which did not concern him.
“Our stand is that police dehumanized us, Egbuka’s name is not there, what he is coming to do. The grounds he comes to present will lead us to strange land. What is the interest of Elder Egbuka? Is he now a police officer? If he is full of energy, let him use it somewhere else,” Okolo submitted, and urged the court to reject the application for joinder.
Justice Garuba Muhammed Umar has, however, adjourned the matter to May 17, 2012, for ruling on the joinder application.
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