An Ihiala High Court in Anambra State presided over by Justice Ifeanyi Nweze has ordered the police and a landlord in Onitsha, Joachim Obiagwu, to pay the sum of N10million naira to his former tenant, Emmanuel Ebirim, as compensation for his unlawful arrest and detention which violate his fundamental human right.
The court also awarded N250,000 as cost of proceedings in favour of Ebirim against the police and the landlord, jointly and severally.
In his judgment, in Suit No HIH/MISC.728/2016, an application for the enforcement of his fundamental rights filed by Ebirim, a trader at Electronics International Market, Onitsha and former tenant of SH 11, Block C Niger Bridge-head, Housing Estate, Fegge Phase 11, is seeking the sum of N500 million as special, general and exemplary damages from the respondents.
Justice Nweze, who declared the application successful, noted that any person unlawfully arrested and detained is entitled to compensation.
Justice Nweze maintained that the arrest and detention of Ebirim at Onitsha by the fourth and fifth respondents, Supol Obiageli Anikwue (ASP) and Corporal Esua Okponghomen, at the instigation of the seventh respondent, Obiagwu, was an unlawful and unconstitutional violation of his fundamental rights, hence the award of the N10 million against the three respondents jointly and severally.
The court recalled that after Ebirim’s property were impounded by the court bailiff in form of levy, Ebirim reported a case of criminal trespass, abduction, stealing, among others to Onitsha Police Area Command against Obiagwu but when the police stepped into the matter, Obiagwu went to Zone 9, Umuahia which led to Ebirim’s arrest and detentions at Onitsha and Umuahia before he was brought back to Onitsha for arraignment.
However, both the sixth and seventh respondents, Emejue and Obiagwu have filed notice of appeal against the judgment, arguing that the applicant did not pray the court to order the writing of petition to against Emejue in his application that was determined by the court.