Alleged Rights Abuse: Court fixes August 20 to hear N100m suit against NAPTIP

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA — The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has fixed August 20 to hear a N100 million rights violation suit against the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed okayed the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/861/2020 for hearing after he ordered the service of all the court processes on the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, who is the 3rd Defendant in the matter.

In the suit, the Applicant, Mr. Ernest Ibe, alleged that he was illegally detained by NAPTIP for four days over a complaint that was lodged by his wife.

Mr. Ibe cited his wife, Chioma, as the 2nd Respondent in the case.

He told the court that he was kept in detention in from July 20 to 23, after he honoured an invitation to report to NAPTIP’s head office in Abuja

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In a 19-paragraphed affidavit he attached to the suit, the Applicant, told the court that he had “series of domestic misunderstandings” with his wife, though their marriage is blessed with four children.

“That sometime in January 2020, the 2nd Respondent filed a petition for divorce against me at the Anambra State High Court, Otuocha Judicial Division. Copy of the Petition is hereby annexed and marked Exhibit “MM! ”.

“That I went to the 1st Respondent‘s office to honour the invitation on 20th July, 2020, at around 3:00pm.

“That upon arrival at the premises I was interrogated by the 1st Respondent‘s employees, and I was detained in the 1st Respondent’s premises from Monday 20th July, to Thursday 23rd July, 2020.

“That during the 4 days of my detention, I was refused bail and was not charged to court.

“That I made frantic efforts to secure my release to a reasonable surety but all my appeals were rebuffed by the 1st respondent’s staff.

“That while I was in detention, the staff of the 1st Respondent conducted a search in my house and forcibly brought my children to the 1st Respondents premises. Copy of a photograph showing the 1st Respondent’s staff in my premises is hereby annexed and marked Exhibit “MM4”.

“That while I was In detention the 1st and 2nd respondents painted a ‘Not for Sale” notice on my house. Annexed herewith is a photograph of the Notice attached and marked as Exhibit ‘MM5’.

“That on the strength of my lawyer’s letter, the 1st Respondent released me on bail at around 8:00pm on 23rd July, 2020.

“That the 1st and 2nd Respondents have continued to intimidate and harass me, with threats of arrest and forcibly retaking my children into their custody”.

He is among other reliefs, seeking, “a declaration that the arrest and detention of the applicant by the 1st Respondent from 20th to 23rd July, 2020, without charging him to court, is illegal and unconstitutional and therefore violates the applicant’s fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed under Section 35(1) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (05 amended).

“An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents from harassing and intimidating the Applicant with arrest or taking his children away for any reason whatsoever pending the determination of this case.

As well as, “An order compelling the Respondents to pay the sum of N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) as exemplary and aggravated damages to the Applicant for the violation of his fundamental rights”.

READ ALSO: Stranded Nigerians forced to disembark from Airline, protest at Stansted Airport

Meanwhile, before adjourning the matter for hearing, Justice Mohammed ordered substituted service of the court processes on the Applicant’s wife.

The court granted the Applicant the leave to paste a copy of the suit at the residence of the 2nd Defendant at No 1 William Street, Life Camp, Abuja.

Justice Mohammed further ordered all the parties to maintain status quo, pending the determination of the suit.

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