By Stephen Asaba-ase
The High Court in Gudu, FCT Abuja, on Thursday, ordered the Inspector-General of Police to pay N50m damage to Prof Zainab Abiola, for violating her fundamental human rights by arresting and parading her while wearing only a nightgown.
The court, in his judgment, delivered by Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi, ordered the police to apologise to her in two national newspapers.
Congress learnt that Abiola filed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2431/2023 against the IG, the Nigeria Police Force, Inspector Teju Moses and Engineer Ibrahim (son of former IGP Usman Alkali Baba) as co-defendants.
She alleged that members of the Nigerian police force in 2022 invaded her residence in Abuja and arrested her while she was wearing a nightgown and whisked her to the station.
She told the Honourable court that she was detained and tortured for three days without trial.
However, the respondents, while urging the court to dismiss the case, claimed that they did not know her, insisting that the allegation she raised in the suit was a falasy.
In the Certified True Copy of the judgment sighted by our correspondent on Thursday, Justice Osho-Adebiyi held that the detention of the late wife of Abiola by the defendants without arraigning her in a court of competent jurisdiction was a gross violation of her right to personal liberty under Section 35 of the constitution and is therefore unlawful and unconstitutional
“It is further declared that the arrest of the applicant by the defendants in her nightgown without giving her the opportunity to dress decently is an infringement of her right to personal dignity. It is more debasing and a further infringement of her right to personal dignity when the applicant was paraded in her nightgown”.
In the circumstances, the sum of N50,000,000.00 only is awarded to the applicant as compensation against the first, second and fourth respondents jointly.
“The respondents are hereby ordered to tender a public apology to the applicant in two national daily newspapers in pursuance of the provisions of Section 35 (6) I of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”
The police had accused the wife of late M. K. O Abiola for assaulting a female police officer, Inspector Teju Moses.
She was alleged to have assaulted the police woman alongside her domestic staff, Rebecca Enechido, at her residence in the Garki area of the FCT on September 20, 2022.