By Olalekan Awojodu
The Nigerian Police was on Wednesday ordered to pay a sum of N15M fine to seven suspected Boko Haram members over their unlawful detention for three years without trial. A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja gave the order while delivering a judgment.
The suspects who were said to have been arrested inside a Maiduguri market were allegedly dumped at the detention facility of the Special Anti Robbery Squad SARS of police at Abbatoir in Abuja.
Justice M.O Olajuwon in a judgment on their fundamental human rights enforcement suit held that detention of the detainees for three years without trial contravened the provisions of the 1999 constitution on human rights.
The Judge said that the police acted in bad faith in keeping the detainees beyond the period required by law especially when there was no cogent and verifiable ground of indictment of the applicants for any offence.
Justice Olajuwon while holding that the detention was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional consequently ordered that the seven applicants be released forthwith to their families.
The Judge ordered that each applicant be paid a sum of N2M as damages for their unlawful detention and another N10M as cost of litigation that brought about the judgment.
Counsel to the applicants, Mr Peter Aboh praised the Judge for ordering immediately release of his clients.
He said that the detainees were unjustly labelled as Boko Haram suspects by police to justify the unlawful detention.
The lawyer revealed that an Abuja based Non Governmental Organization NGO Dayspring Life Foundation stumbled on the detainees while in detention and took over the sponsorship of the litigation free of charge to rescue them from the claws of police and unlawful detention.
The applicants are Ajiri Bulama Dungus, Gudja Giddah, Adam Mohammed, Wardi Dungus, Fanami Mustapha, Mohammed Abba and Makinka Alhaji Dungus.
At the time of this report, the court registrar was preparing a warrant for their release.