Inspector General Of Police
OpenLife Nigeria reports that a Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria,has granted an order mandating the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police Special fraud unit Ikoyi Lagos,and the Area Commander Area E Festac town, Lagos, jointly and severally to pay a Lagos Lawyer, Barrister Faye Harry, general damages of N12 Million for the brutalization, dehumanization, torture, verbal assault,,handcuffing, arrest, unlawful detention and parading the lawyer before the public.
The court also ordered one Louis Irikefe Maduku to pay the lawyer the sum of N5million, Assistance Superintendent of Police Ayeni C.to personally pay N2 million as damages to the lawyer for acting beyond his constitutional and statutory mandate as a Police officer in the role he played in violating the lawyer’s fundamental rights.
The Presiding Judge, Akintayo Aluko, while restraining the respondents from further arresting, detaining ,brutalizing, dehumanizing, handcuffing and torturing of the lawyer,also awarded the sum of Two hundred thousand Naira in favour of Barrister Faye Harry against the respondents.
According to Judgement delivered by Justice Akintayo Aluko
Summary of facts of case for the parties:
The accounts of the story that make up the facts of the case are as contained in
the affidavit evidence and documentary exhibits of the parties.
The case of the Applicant Faye Harry is that on the 18th of September, 2020 at about 6:25 am, he got a call from the 6th Respondent (Mr. Femi Folorunsho Odunuga) that he had a challenge concerning his brother and would want him to attend to it.
However, considering the fact that it was too early, he gave him an appointment for 9:00am at his office only for him to look through the window and saw two men in mufty (i.e. the 4th Respondent ASP Ayeni C.and one Danladi) beating the security guard at the gate. It was when he tried putting a call through to the 2nd security guard that he noticed some calls and upon calling back the first number, it was ASP Ayeni that picked and told him he had been calling/banging at the door of his apartment situate at Block 13, Flat 6, LSDPC Estate, Agidimo Road, Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos State without any response.
It is the Applicant’s case that upon opening the door,he saw two heavily built men from SARS and was informed to have been invited by ASP Ayeni,Louis Irikefe Maduku,and Femi Folorunsho who are 4th,5th,and 6th respondents respectively in this suit from the Area Commander,Area E Festac Police Command Festac Town Lagos.
The Applicant stressed that he was brutalized, humiliated, handcuffed and paraded like a common criminal and whisked away to Zenith Bank, Falomo Branch, Ikoyi where he was made to print out his statement of account from September 2016 to 18th of September 2020, which he handed over to ASP Ayeni , after which they took him to the Special Fraud Unit office of the Commissioner of Police Special fraud unit and ASP Ayeni.
It is the Applicant’s case that the inhumane treatment meted out to him was as a result of the frivolous petition of Louis Irikefe Maduku against him alleging that he paid N42, 000, 000 (Forty Two Million Naira) into his firm’s account i.e ., Faye Harry & Associates to purchase two plots of land for him, for which he was neither alloted the property nor refunded his money.
The Applicant denied the claim but claimed that Irikefe transferred the sum of N21, 460, 000 (Twenty-one Million, Four Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira Only) to him out of which N18, 000, 000.00 (Eighteen Million Naira) was meant for the payment of 2 plots of land which was transferred to Bashorun Resources Limited while the remaining N3, 460, 000 (Three Million, Four Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira) was for fees paid for the two plots of land and the property known as House F6, 1 F Lilly House, Spring Close, off Palm Drive Anchorage Estate, Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos State where Irikefe resides as purchased by him.
It is the Applicant’s case that contrary to the Irikefe’s allegation, he never participated in the sourcing and negotiation of sale of the said property. He said he only transferred money to the seller of the property, one Rauf Adewale Bashorun (the Baale of the Ogundairo Akanwo Family of Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos
State) after conducting a search on the property.
The Applicant said that despite advising Irikefe against purchasing the said properties, he still instructed him to transfer the sum of N18 Million for which receipt were issued and when he discovered that the plots were encumbered, Rauf Adewale offered other plots to him who in turn refused the offer but insisted on refund.
The Applicant maintained that despite repeated demands for the refunded of the purchase sum,only N2, 000, 000.00 (Two Million Naira) was refunded by Baale Rauf Adewale Bashorun who instituted a suit against Louis Irikefe at the Federal high court Lagos via Suit No:FHC/L/CS/1646/18.which he Barrister Faye Harry defended without charging any fee from Irikefe.
The Applicant said it was shocking to have been degraded to such treatment from Irikefe despite that no invitation was sent to him that he did not honour to have warranted such reaction from the officers of the Nigerian Police without first carrying out any investigation to ascertain the veracity of the petition.
The Applicant stressed that he was released on bail with stringent conditions attached, after which he had to go to the hospital for treatment arising from the brutalization and ill treatment he suffered in the hands of the Respondents led by ASP Ayeni C.
The Respondents on the other hand denied the Applicant’s claims but described him as a suspect in a criminal case of conspiracy and fraudulent obtaining the sum of N42 Million Naira, by false pretense reported through a petition written by Louis Irikefe Maduku and Femi Folorunsho Odunuga to the office of Commissioner of Police(Special Fraud unit) and ASP Ayeni,
Irikefe was said to have purchased the landed properties by paying the said sum into the Applicant’s account,based on the Applicant’s assurance that they were free from all encumbrances.
The police claimed they followed due process in thier investigation of the allegations against the Applicant. They maintained that he was never detained harassed,extorted,handcuffed,
humiliated and that his fundamental rights were not violated.
The Respondents stressed that the Applicant’s instant suit is a way to forestall the Police investigation.
In his judgment justice Akintayo ALUKO said:
“The law is very clear that, where as in this case, a party challenges the lawfulness of his arrest, the burden of proving that he acted within the law and the Constitution in effecting the arrest and detaining the party is on the party who effected the arrest.
The party, the 1st – 5th Respondents in this instance have to satisfy the Court by adducing evidence that the arrest was based on reasonable suspicion of the party having committed a criminal offence or that the arrest was reasonably necessary to prevent his committing an offence.
They must have and show the evidence from that investigation that implicates the party before they can legally justify his arrest. It is therefore completely wanton to arrest. let alone caution a suspect before the police look for evidence to implicate him.”
Going by the affidavit and documentary evidence before the court, the Police Officers led by ASP Ayeni C acted illegally, unconstitutionally and beyond their powers and mandate when they went to the residence of the Applicant to assault, arrest, dehumanize and eventually detained him without any prior invitation or proper investigation.
No law permits ASP Ayeni to have violated the fundamental rights of the Applicant the way and manner he did with his fellow Police Officers.
In the circumstance of this case and by the evidence before the court, the Applicant has creditably established unwarranted and unlawful violation of his fundamental rights to dignity of human person and personal liberty in flagrant breach of sections 34 and 35 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria FRN 1999 (as amended) against the Respondents.
Compensation and damages therefore naturally flow from the established violation of the rights of the Applicant in his favour as held in the case of Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc V. Ikechukwu Amaefula & Ors (2021) LPELR 52780 (CA) pp. 37 – 40, paras F – D, where it was held as follows:
“It is well settled law that in a fundamental rights case, the award of damages naturally flows from the violation of the right alleged to have been breached. The purpose of awarding damages in a fundamental right case is to compensate a person for the injury suffered by him.
Thus, once it is established that the right of a person has been violated and infringed upon, compensatory and in some cases, exemplary damages would be attracted, damages to be awarded in a breach of a person’s fundamental right must be such that would amount to a fair and balanced estimate for the alleged breach that resulted from the Respondent’s conduct.
It is trite law that consideration must be given to the circumstances in which the Applicant was arrested and whether he was able to prove same. “The claim is in connection with the breach of his fundamental rights to his liberty by the respondents.
The onus is on him to show that he was unlawfully arrested and detained, i.e. that his fundamental rights has been violated. If this is proved, by virtue of the provisions of Section 35(6) of the Constitution, the complainant is entitled to compensation and apology,
Where a specific amount is claimed, it is for the Court to consider the claim and in its opinion, the amount would be justified to compensate the victim of the breach.In this respect, the common law principles on the award of damages do not apply to matters brought under the enforcement of fundamental rights procedure, the procedure for fundamental rights was specifically promulgated to protect the Nigerians’ fundamental rights from abuse and violations by authorities and persons. When a breach of the right is proved, the victim is entitled to compensation even if no specific amount is claimed.
Leveraging on the above decisions and the evidence placed before the court, the lone issue is resolved in favour of the Applicant against the Respondents.
The claims of the Applicant hereby succeed and judgment is entered for him as follows:
A declaration of this Honourable Court that the arrest,brutalization and detention of the Applicant is unlawful and contrary to Section 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
An order of this Court, that the brutalization, dehumanization, verbal assault, handcuffing, assault on his person is an infringement on the Applicant’s fundamental Rights contrary to sections 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
An order of this Court that the handcuffing and parading of the Applicant in his Estate before the general public as a common criminal is an infringement on the Applicant’s fundamental Right to self-dignity.
An order compelling the Respondents to tender an unreserved public apology to the Applicant in two (2) National dailies for the infringement on his fundamental rights.
An order mandating the Inspector General of Police Commissioner of Police Special Fraud unit Ikoyi Lagos and the Area Commander Area E Festac Town,Lagos jointly and severally to pay the Applicant GENERAL DAMAGES of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira only) for the Brutalization, Dehumanization, torture, verbal assault, handcuffing, arrest, unlawful detention and parading the Applicant before the public
An order of this Court compelling and mandating Louis Irikefe Maduku to pay to the Applicant the sum of N5,000,000 (Five Million Nairea Only) for writing frivolous petition leading to the arrest, participating in the brutalization, dehumanisation, torture and Inviting the officers of The Area Commander Area E Festac Town Lagos to brutalize the Applicant.
An Order directing the ASP Ayeni C. to personally pay the sum of N2,000,000 (Two Million Naire Only) as damages to the Applicant for acting beyond his constitutional and statutory mandate as a Police Officer in the role he played in violating the Applicant’s fundamental rights.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents from further arrest, detention, brutalization, dehumanization, handcuffing and torture of the Applicant.
Cost of action in the sum of N200,000 is awarded in favour of the Applicant against the Respondents.