Sons of the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential election, late Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola, Kassim and Aliyu Abiola, have filed a N100 million fundamental rights suit against the Lagos state Commissioner of Police over their detention.
By Adebisi ONANUGA
The suit was filed through their lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police was the sole respondent in the suit.
Kassim and Aliyu, in the suit, applied for the enforcement of their rights to personal liberty, dignity of person, right to private and family life, as well as right to freedom of movement.
They told the court that they were unlawfully arrested and detained at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Ikeja, following a complaint that was lodged by their step-mum, Mrs. Adebisi Abiola, after the robbery incident.
Among others, the applicants prayed the court to declare that “their arrest without warrant and subsequent and continuous dehumanization and detention since the September 2, 2020, by operatives of the respondent on the alleged complaint of one Mrs Adebisi Abiola, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful and constitutes a blatant violation of the Applicants’ fundamental rights as enshrined in Section 35 (1) (4) & (6), 37, 41 (1), 44 (1) and 46(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered, Sections 2, 3(1) (2), 17(1) (2), 18 (1) (2) (3), 19, 21 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, Lagos State, 2015, and Articles 5, 6 & 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
Aside from demanding for an apology, the Applicants equally asked for an order to compel the Respondent to pay them N100million as exemplary damages for the “wanton and grave violation” of their fundamental rights.
The applicants told the court that they were discriminatorily singled out as a result of a complaint by their step mum, which accused them of complicity in the robbery.
They told the court that though Police had since conducted several searches at their apartments, nothing incriminating or connecting them with any alleged stolen item belonging to their step mum was found.
In a 21 paragraphed affidavit that was deposed to by Ubong Ikon, a Litigation Clerk in Chief Ozekhome’s Chamber, in support of the suit, the applicants, alleged that Police officers forcibly broke into their homes and arrested them with seven other people.
Meanwhile, the applicants also filed an exparte motion and an affidavit of urgency, wherein they prayed the court to hear their case within the ongoing vacation period.
When the case came up yesterday before the Ikeja High Court vacation Judge, Justice Abiola Soladoye, Messrs Chimaobi Onuigbo and Ejieke Onuoha, holding the brief of Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, passionately prayed the court to grant bail to the detainees due to their poor health and lengthy detention period in the SARS dungeon since September 2, 2020. The judge however directed that the Commissioner of Police who is the sole defendant in the matter be put on notice about the suit.
She consequently adjourned the matter to the October 15, 2020, and ordered that the file be returned to the Assistant Chief Registrar for re-assignment to a non – vacation Judge, for hearing.