Symbol of justice
By Adibe Emenyonu
A Benin High Court yesterday awarded N5 million as damages against the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for unlawful detention of human rights activist, Rev. David Ugolor.
Besides, the court presided by Justice Esther Edigin ordered the Police to stop forthwith any further arrest of the applicant.
Justice Esther Edigin in her ruling earlier threw away a motion for extension of time filed by the police, saying that the reason adduced by the Police Counsel in the supporting affidavits were contradictory and therefore unreliable.
According to her, “the affidavit proved that the respondents were served. I find that the respondent in a bid to pull wool over this court failed. It is an application unknown to law. It lacks merit and appropriately dismissed."
The court ruling delivered by Justice Edigin was sequel to an earlier ruling by the court on August 16, 2012 wherein it ordered the immediate release of the activist.
Incidentally, two weeks after the order, the police held on to Ugolor explaining that it was not properly served.
Besides, the security operatives sought for an extension of time to enable it respond to the motion on notice brought against it by counsel to Ugolor, Mr. Olayiwola Afolabi for defamation of character and breach of fundamental human rights of the applicant.
Afolabi had also argued that the respondent have continued to violate the fundamental human rights of the applicant; even when operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) had paraded the alleged killers of the slain Oyerinde.
Ugolor was picked up by the security operatives on July 27, 2012 after one of the suspects in its custody allegedly named him as accomplice in the murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the principal private secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.
Reacting to the ruling however, counsel to the police, Mr. David Abuo expressed dissatisfaction, noting that they will appeal the ruling.