Detention: Court Awards N1.2m against IG, Bauchi Police Commissioner

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By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

A Bauchi High Court Nine has awarded N1.2 million damages against the Inspector General of Police (IG) and the state Police Commissioner for what it described as the illegal detention and breach of the fundamental rights of a politician in Bauchi State, Nasiru Ibrahim Darazo.

The court presided over by Justice Gurama Mahmoud while giving its ruling Thursday declared that the arrest and detention of Darazo was unconstitutional thereby infringing on his human rights as a free citizen of the country.

It therefore awarded a cost in the sum of N1.2 million against the respondent just as it further restrained the IG and his agents from further arresting and/or detaining the applicant.

While reacting to the ruling, counsel to Darazo, Summi Zakka Bayero, said: “The court has further established that it is the last resort and hope of the common man. The ruling is also a testimony that those in authority cannot misuse their authority and go scot free.”

Bayero then declared that the next step is to ensure the enforcement of the ruling in order to serve as a relief to his client who has suffered mental and emotional tortures by the acts of the respondents.

Darazo, had some time in 2018, sued the IG and the state Commissioner of Police before the state High Court demanding the sum of N50 million as damages over alleged illegal detention and violation of his human right.

The counsel to the complainant, Mr Joseph O Bichi, had asked the court to declare that the arrest and detention of his client by the police between 11th and 12th August, 2018, constituted a gross violation of his fundamental rights to dignity, liberty and fair hearing guaranteed under Sections 34, 35 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 5 and 6 on Humans and People’s Rights Act Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

The counsel also sought the court to grant him an order restraining the respondents or their agents from further arresting or detaining his client in any other manner interfering with his fundamental rights which is contrary to the law.

In the affidavit he sworn to, Darazo alleged that the respondents in a team called the Inspector General of Police Squad from Abuja in conjunction with some policemen from the Bauchi State Command came to his house heavily armed and forcefully seized his mobile phone and arrested him.

He further said that the policemen whisked him away without allowing him to tell his family that he was arrested or being taken away by the Nigeria Police and after searching his car and nothing incriminating was found inside the car, they seized the car key and detained him.

Darazo also said that when he demanded to know the reason why he was arrested, one of the officers told him that he has no right to know why he was arrested because his arrest was ordered from above while his pleading to the respondents to give him his phone to enable him inform his wives and friends to let them know that he was arrested was vehemently denied.

He further said that around 10 pm in the night of the arrest, one Samaila Idris Esq, who he met while in detention, informed his counsel and when the counsel came all efforts to get him released on bail were turned down by the respondents, thereby making him to spend the night in detention without knowing the offence he committed.

Darazo, who said that he spent the night in detention at the Bauchi State Police Command without knowing the crime he committed, stated that on Sunday around 5 o’clock in the evening, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of CID called him and asked him to go home but with his mobile phone still withheld which the police later returned to him two days after his release.