by crossriverwatch admin
A Federal High Court in Calabar has ordered the Nigeria Police to pay the sum of N20 million as general damages to Citizen Ottoh Obono for parading him in public before the press on allegations bordering on armed robbery.
Delivering judgement in suit No. FHC/CA/CS/91/2009 between Mr. Obono and the Inspector General of Police, Justice C. J. Aneke said parading arrested suspects undergoing investigation is unconstitutional, illegal and wrongful, and contrary to the provisions of Section 34 sub-section 1 and 36 sub-section 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 5 & 7 (1) (b) of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Right (Ratification & Enforcement) Act, 2004.
In the judgment delivered on Monday, Justice Aneke held that the parade of Mr. Obono on October 7, 2009, by the 2nd respondent (the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State), before journalists as a member of a gang of armed robbers and the subsequent publication of his photographs in a newspaper on Thursday, October 8, 2009, and the airing of the same news item on national television on the same date were illegal and unjust and damaging to the reputation and image of the applicant.
The suspect was shown to the media as a criminal even when he was yet to be arraigned in court.
The judge said the fact that Mr. Obono was exonerated of any wrongdoing following the legal advice of Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, after being remanded for over 10 months at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons, made nonsense of the applicant’s right to presumption of innocence as enshrined in Section 36 (5) of the of the 1999 Constitution and left much to be desired in the administration of justice in the country.
“The respondents’ conducts against the applicant are totally reprehensible and condemnable and I hereby condemn same without equivocation,” Justice Aneke said.
Nigeria Police Watch
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