The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai to pay the sum of #11 million to indigenes of Gombe state that were illegally detained by the Army.
The judgement was delivered by Ijeoma Ojukwu who said the detention of the applicants since July 6 was illegal and unconstitutional adding that the detention of the 11 people was a breach of their fundamental rights and ordered their immediate release.
She ruled that Buratai should pay the detainees N1 million each and maintained that no arresting authority was permitted to arbitrarily detain a person beyond the statutorily prescribed period.
“The long detention and torture, without detention order, of the Applicants since July 6, 2018, by servants and agents of the 1st defendant, COAS, is illegal and unconstitutional and is a violation of the applicants’ fundamental rights as enshrined under Sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
“The 1st Respondent shall pay the sum of N11, 000 000 (Eleven Million Naira) only to the applicants (jointly) as damages for the breach of the applicants’ rights under Sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
“No circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. All law enforcement officers must conform to accepted norms and rule of law in the discharge of their statutory duties.’’
The detained indigenes are James Yusuf, Ishaya Ali Poshiya, Nehemiah Yohanna Poshiya, Husseini Poshiya, Hamma Poshiya, Yusuf Mafindi, Yila Boyi, James Bare, Ezekiel Dandaudu, Ali Ishaku and Ilya Bala.
The indigenes were arrested by officers of the Nigerian Army on July 6 on the grounds of murder of one David Jauro Stephen.
Mr Stephen was attacked on his farm by some unknown assailants from a neighbouring village, Shongom in Gombe State. However, after the applicants discovered the corps of Mr Stephen on his farm, they tried conveying it home but were in the process caught by the army and arrested.
The judgement followed a fundamental right enforcement suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/777/2018, which the applicants filed through their lawyer, Mela Audu Nunghe.