High court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital has ordered the police command to pay the sum of N4m to one Clement Etim, a businessman in the state for illegal arrest, detention and torture of the victim.
Etim was said to have been arrested, detained and tortured for three days by the Divisional Police Officer of Itu LGA who is a Chief Superintendent of Police, Celestine Umeh whom he caught in his matrimonial home at Aba Ukpo Estate in Uyo.
In a suite filed in May 2020, by Etim’s counsel, Inibehe Effiong, it was stated that Umeh, violated Etim’s fundamental right to private and family life guaranteed by Section 37 of the Nigerian Constitution by intruding into his matrimonial home in his absence at Aba Ukpo Estate in Uyo to be with his wife, Laurentia Asuquo Etim, in the night.
Barrister Effiong prayed the court to enforce the fundamental rights of his client to private and family lives and freedom of movement among others.
Delivering judgement in suite no HU/ FHR.72/2020 on Monday, the presiding judge, Justice Charles Ikpe, established that the police violated the fundamental right of the applicant to personal liberty by detaining him for three days without justification.
The court also discovered that Etim was tortured by the Police, which is a violation of his right to dignity of the human person.
Also, it found CSP Umeh liable of “violation of the fundamental right of the applicant to private and family life by intruding into the matrimonial home of Etim without his consent.
The court however restrained the police from arresting the applicant except by the order of a court.
Reacting to the judgement on Tuesday, the Applicant’s counsel, Inibehe Effiong in an interview with our correspondent in Uyo, said the judgement is an indication that the court remains the last hope of the oppressed.
He said, “For me the judgement is okay for my client because my client has suffered immeasurable damage arising from the despicable action of the CSP Celestine Umeh. As I speak to you my client has been separated from his wife; lost his matrimonial home aided by the Police and CSP Umeh.
“His wife has parked out all the property and ran away and for him to have access to his children has become very difficult, so my client’s home has been destroyed. He was detained and tortured and the court found that he was actually detained and tortured.
“The court also established that CSP Umeh has no right to be in the residence of my client when he was not invited or did not obtain his consent to be in his house. People have said that the amount involved is too small but beyond the issue of the amount that was awarded, I commend the court for the courage and wisdom to have given the police that resounding rebuke. Like I said the judgement to me is an indication that the court remains the last hope of the oppressed.”
However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon when contacted said he did not know about the judgement, therefore would not comment on something he is not aware of.