Court orders Akwa Ibom Police to pay N4 million compensation to businessman over wrong detention, torture

A High court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State has awarded the sum of four million naira as compensation to one Mr Clement Etim, a businessman over illegal detention and torture by the Divisional Police Officer of Itu LGA, CSP Celestine Umeh.

The court ordered the Command to pay the said amount to the victim to assuage his pains and humiliations in their hands.

Etim was arrested, detained and tortured for three days after he caught CSP Umeh, in his matrimonial home at Aba Ukpo Estate in Uyo.

In a suit filed in May 2020, Etim had stated that CSP Umeh, violated his fundamental right to private and family life guaranteed by Section 37 of the Nigerian Constitution by intruding into his matrimonial home in his absence at Aba Ukpo Estate in Uyo to be with his wife, Mrs Laurentia Asuquo Etim, in the night.

Lagos-based lawyer and counsel to Etim, Barrister Inibehe Effiong, had filed a lawsuit at the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, praying the court to enforce the fundamental rights of his client to private and family lives and freedom of movement among others.

Delivering judgement in suit no HU/ FHR.72/2020 on Monday, the presiding judge, Justice Charles Ikpe, established that the police violated the fundamental right of the applicant to personal liberty by detaining him for three days without justification.

The court also found that Mr Etim was tortured by the Police, which is a violation of his right to the dignity of a human person.

Also, it found CSP Umeh liable of “violation of the fundamental right of the Applicant to private and family life by intruding into the matrimonial home of Mr Etim without his consent.

The court, however, restrained the police from arresting the Applicant except by the order of a court.

Reacting to the judgement on Tuesday, the Applicant’s counsel, Inibehe Effiong in an interview with our correspondent in Uyo, said the judgement is an indication that the court remains the last hope of the oppressed.

He said ” For me, the judgement is okay for my client because my client has suffered immeasurable damage arising from the despicable action of the CSP Celestine Umeh. As I speak to you my client has been separated from his wife; lost his matrimonial home aided by the Police and CSP Umeh.

“His wife has parked out all the property and ran away and for him to have access to his children has become very difficult, so my client’s home has been destroyed. He was detained and tortured and the court found that he was actually detained and tortured.

“The court also established that CSP Umeh has no right to be in the residence of my client when he was not invited or did not obtain his consent to be in his house. People have said that the amount involved is too small but beyond the issue of the amount that was awarded comment the court for the courage and wisdom to have given the police that resounding rebuke. Like I said the judgement to me is an indication that the court remains the last hope of the oppressed”.

However, the Police, Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon when contacted said he was not aware of the judgement and cannot comment on what he has no knowledge about.

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