JUST IN: Kanu’s Lawyer, Others Lose Appeal Against ‘Unlawful’ Arrest, Detention

Court Hears Kanu’s N1bn Suit Against Federal Govt, DSS April 18

Kanu's , Others Lose Appeal Against ‘Unlawful' , Detention


The , Abuja Division, has dismissed the appeal brought before it by Mr Felix Okonkwo, one of the lawyers to the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi .

Okonkwo alleged unlawful arrest and detention by the and the Department of Security Services ().

Justice Okon Abang dismissed the appeal for lack of merit.

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

Felix Okonkwo, Ikenna Chibuike and Okafor Ugochukwu, who were appellants in the appeal, had dragged the Police Force (NPF) and the DSS 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 were allegedly tortured, harassed and intimidated in the of the police.

Justice Samaila Bature had, in his judgement delivered on March 24, 2022 found police liable for the unlawful arrest and detention of 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 DSS because the appellants, then plaintiffs did not disclose any cause of action against the DSS.

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

They claimed that the N2 million imposed on the 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.

In his judgement, Justice Abang held that from the video footage tendered as exhibit by the appellants at the trial court, there was no where the operatives of the DSS were found at the scene of their arrest in the 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 and added that, the decision to 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, the appellants did not point out irrelevant facts in the judgement of the high court and did not also state the nature of their daily income for the consideration of the court to ascertain the amount that will be sufficient for them.

“In my opinion and going by the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, the N2 million compensation to the appellants was properly awarded.

“I cannot fault the award because the appellants did not give any good reason for them to have been awarded a much higher amount.

“In the final analysis, the appeals lack merit and it is accordingly dismissed, the decision of the trial court is hereby affirmed. There is no order as to cost”, Justice Abang held.

Justices Joseph Olubunmi Kayode Oyewole and Abba Bello Mohammed, who are members of the three- member panel of justices of the court, endorsed the unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Abang.

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