Court fines Nigeria police for detaining Abuja bound opposition politicians

Police officers scrambling for Naira notes thrown at them by Bola Tinubu after the trial the politicians were stopped from attending

Members of the political party were brutalized and turned away from Abuja by police officers in Lokoja. But a court in the city has asked the police to pay for its executive lawlessness.

A Lokoja Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja,  Kogi State, has ordered the Nigerian police to pay N11 million to two groups of Action Congress of Nigeria members for illegal detention.

The politicians were detained in Lokoja late last year while being transported to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, for political rallies.

The first group, from Lagos, was turned back on their way to Abuja to witness the Code of Conduct Bureau arraignment proceedings of their leader, Bola Tinubu, September 21 last year.

The second group, from Osun State, were ambushed, arrested and detained on October 25 and 26 last year while transporting through the state to attend a party meeting at the party’s national secretariat, Abuja.

Both groups sued the Inspector-General of Police and the state Commissioner of Police,  Amana Abasakanga, claiming  N15 billion for damages. But the court awarded N6 million to the first group and N5 million to the second.

The detainees told the judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, that they were brutalized by the police, after the officers barred them from accessing the federal capital city.

The judge ruled their detention was without justification and that their brutalization was condemn-able. The court berated the police for profiling the politicians based on their their political affiliation ruling it was a violation of their human rights.

Last year, hundreds of politicians transporting to Abuja, by land, from the southern part of the country,  were stopped by the police at the gateway town of Lokoja.

Despite owning constitutional right protest and congregate, victims – mostly profiled – were arrested, detained and turned away by officers who frequently cite “orders from above” as reasons for their actions.

Justice Ekwo described the these profiling by the police as “executive lawlessness, reckless show of power and lack of respect for the constitution.”

Culled from Vanguard