Paul Obi in Abuja

Activist, musician and convener of ‘OurMumuDonDo’ movement, Mr. Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy, has filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja over the violation of his rights to dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association during the ‘Resume or Resign’ protest on August 8 in Abuja.

A Lagos-based legal practitioner and human rights activist and counsel to Charly Boy, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, in an originating motion on October 4, 2017, filed the suit at the Abuja high court against the Commissioner of Police, FCT Police Command who is joined as the respondent in the suit.

In his written address in support of his client’s application with reference number FCT/HC/CV/3037/2017, Effiong is asking the court to determine the following two issues, Charly Boy is urging the court to ascertain “whether the use of teargas canisters, water cannon and wild police dogs by the agents and officers of the respondent to attack, harass and disperse the applicant during a peaceful demonstration at the Unity Fountain in Maitama, Abuja, on August 8, 2017, is not unjustifiable, illegal, unconstitutional and a breach of the applicant’s fundamental rights to the dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and contrary to Sections 34, 39 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 5, 9, 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

He also wants to know “whether having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case and the evidence before the court, the applicant is entitled to public apology, compensation, damages and other reliefs sought in this application from the respondent.

Oputa is also seeking the declaration that “the use of teargas canisters, water cannon and wild police dogs by the agents and officers of the respondent to attack, harass and disperse the applicant during a peaceful demonstration at the Unity Fountain in Maitama, Abuja on August 8, 2017, is unjustifiable, illegal, unconstitutional and a breach of the Applicant’s fundamental right to dignity of the human person and contrary to Section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“A declaration that the use of teargas canisters, water cannon and wild police dogs by the agents and officers of the Respondent to attack, harass and disperse the Applicant during a peaceful demonstration at the Unity Fountain in Maitama, Abuja on August 8, 2017, where the applicant and other activists had gathered to demand that President Muhammadu Buhari either return to the country from his long medical vacation in the United Kingdom or resign is unjustifiable, illegal, unconstitutional and amounts to a violation of the applicant’s fundamental right to freedom of expression and contrary to Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“A declaration that the use of teargas canisters, water cannon and wild police dogs by the agents and officers of the Respondent to attack, harass and disperse the applicant during a peaceful demonstration at the Unity Fountain in Maitama, Abuja on August 8, 2017, where the applicant and other activists had assembled under the umbrella of an association known as ‘OurMumuDonDo’ movement to demand that President Buhari should either return to the country from his long medical vacation in the United Kingdom or resign is unjustifiable, illegal, unconstitutional and amounts to a violation of the applicant’s fundamental right to peaceful assembly and association and contrary to Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“An order compelling the respondent to publish a public apology to the applicant in five national newspapers for violating the applicant’s fundamental rights to dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

“An order directing the respondent to pay the sum of N100 million general damages to the applicant for violating the Applicant’s fundamental rights to dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

“An order directing the respondent to pay the sum of N400 million as exemplary damages to the applicant violating the applicant’s fundamental rights to dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondent and the Nigeria Police Force from further interfering with or violating the applicant’s fundamental rights to dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”

Oputa further narrated that the attack by the policemen was so severe that he collapsed in the process and was rushed to the hospital.

The musician also stated that the police attacked them because of claims that their protest over the president’s absence, which had exceeded 90 days on the second day of their daily sit-out protest, had gone international and brought serious embarrassment to the country.