The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) has applauded the Judiciary for the award of 15 million naira damages against the Nigeria Police for the arrest and detention of Daniel and Timothy Elombah in January 2018.
The Police had arrested and detained the online journalists and particularly detained Tim Elombah from 05:00am of January 1 to around 03.00pm of January 25, 2018, on the instruction of the former Inspector General of Police, Idris Kpotum.
The Elombah brothers thereafter filed separate actions against the Nigeria Police and the IGP for violations of their human rights.
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] sitting at Wuse, Zone II, Abuja, last Wednesday, upheld the human rights violation suit filed by Tim Elombah, and slammed ten million Naira damages against the Nigeria Police Force.
On April 23, 2018, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Jabi, Abuja, in a judgment, delivered by Justice Jude Okeke, in the matter of application by Daniel Elombah, and others had also awarded 5 million Naira damages against the Police for violation of the Applicants’ rights to personal dignity and liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution.
OPAN in a statement issued after the Wednesday judgement and signed by the OPAN president, Austyn Ogannah commended Justice Ajoke Adepoju and Justice Jude Okeke for standing on the right side of history and urged the public to challenge violations of their rights by the Nigerian Police.
The statement also said: “The decisions of the FCT Courts have shown that there is hope for the common man in the country where the Police continually violates people’s right without being sanctioned.
OPAN particularly noted the court’s decision that “the arraignment of the applicant before an Upper Area Court at Mpape, a satellite town in Abuja, a court without jurisdiction to preside over such cases, is illegal and therefore null and void.
“We implore Police to continually respect individual rights, freedom of expression and press freedom as guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution”, the statement concluded.