By Austin Ogwuda
ASABAâ€”A Kwale high court presided over by Justice G.B. Briki-Okolosi has ordered Delta State Police Commissioner, a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and an Investigating Police Officer (IPO) to pay the sum of N200,000 to Mr. Nelson Enumah, a legal practitioner as â€œaggravated and exemplary damagesâ€ for unlawfully arresting and detaining him and his personal car.
The lawyer had filed a contempt charge at Kwale High Court seeking the court to commit the state Commissioner of Police, DPO, Enerhen and two other police officers to prison for allegedly failing to comply with an earlier order made by the court directing them (police) to produce the applicantâ€™s Mercedes Benz car they impounded.
In his eleven-page judgment, Justice Briki-Okolosi stated that â€œthe failure to obey the order of court while hiding under superior authority shows clearly the bad faith on the part of the respondents (police officers).
They are not fit to wear the uniform of the Police as proud officers when it is only useful to extort money from unsuspecting citizens instead of bringing criminals to book.
â€œIn the light of all the foregoing, I hold that the applicant (Enumah) has made out a case entitling him to the reliefs claimed in the statement filed in support of the motion ex-parte”.
The applicant is also entitled to damages for the unlawful detention and the hardship he went through while in detention and since then.
â€œThe respondents are hereby directed to hand over the Mercedes Benz car Model 190E with engine and chassis nos. 10296212060486 and DB 2010241F326385 together with the original car particulars impounded along with the said car to the applicant forthwithâ€.
The judge went on to say â€œfor how can it be justified that 16 cars were impounded, including the car of the applicant and 8 cars found themselves within a short span back with the owners. Why was a difference made with the car of the applicant?
The respondents tried to build what looked at first to be a strong case but which in the light of all the surrounding circumstances blew up in a puff of smoke. There is no moral authority for what the respondents did in this case and have continued to doâ€, he added.