A/Court dismisses Nnamdi Kanu’s suit against police, DSS

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By Kenneth Atavti

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

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

Delivering judgment on Monday on the appeal, Justice Abang held that the appellant failed to establish a miscarriage of justice in the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in the matter.

The appellants comprising Felix Okonkwo, Ikenna Chibuike and Okafor Ugochukwu had dragged the Nigeria Police Force 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 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 the Police liable for the unlawful arrest and detention of the appellants and subsequently imposed a fine of N2 million against the 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 DSS.

Dissatisfied with the findings and decisions of the high court, the three plaintiffs approached the Court of Appeal praying for an order to hold that DSS was also culpable in their arrest and detention.

They claimed that the N2 million imposed on the Police as a 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 judgment, Justice Abang held that from the video footage tendered as exhibit by the appellants at the trial court, there was nowhere the operatives of the DSS 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 were 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.