Court orders IGP, 2 others to pay lawyer N25.5m as damages

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BY CHIDI NKWOPARA

OWERRI — An Owerri High Court presided over by Justice Nonyerem Okoronkwo, has ordered the Inspector General of Police to pay a Lagos-based legal practitioner, Mr. Emeka Ozoani, N25.2 million instead of the N50 billion sought as aggravated damages for assault and humiliation.

Delivering the judgment that lasted nearly two hours, yesterday, Justice Okoronkwo said others who are to jointly and severally pay the bill include the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 9 Umuahia and Julius Berger Plc.

The High Court Judge agreed that Ozoani simply acted as counsel to Mrs. Philomena Ugo, a staff of Imo State University, Owerri, irrespective of his relationship to the woman.

“The police have no hiding place under the law, in this matter before me. The arrest or attempted arrest of a lawyer stepping out of a courtroom, which attracted lawyers and the state Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Benjamin Njemanze is most disgraceful,” Okoronkwo said.

Okoronkwo wondered why Julius Berger Plc, through their lawyer, turned round to accuse counsel and client of forging documents earlier tendered in court and no objections raised during trial in suit, HOW/581/2007 earlier decided by Hon. Justice Ngozi Benardine Ukoha.

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