A Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja on Friday dismissed a suit filed by a businessman, Alhaji Ismaila Jimoh, demanding N50 million in damages from the police for lacking in merit.
Justice Sunday Bassy-Onu, in a judgment, held that the arrest and detention of Jimoh was based on a petition made to the police on threat to life.
“By Section IV of the Police Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Law 2004, the police has the right and power to commence investigation into any report of threat to life and make arrests and detention.
“Therefore such arrest and detention can’t be a breach of fundamental right as long as they were done within 24 hours or 48 hours as enshrined in the Police Act.
“One fact is that the applicant himself affirmed that he was arrested on June 21, detained and released the next day, June 22, which was within the limit of section 4 of the Police Act
“Therefore, there’s no sign or proof that the Police breached the fundamental right of the applicant by their actions.
“Again, the applicant has woefully failed to prove how his fundamental right has been breached by the respondents before this honourable Court.
“I therefore found this application lacking in merit and is hereby dismissed,” the Judge declared.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Jimoh had through his counsel, Mrs A.B. Sani, filed a fundamental right suit against the Kogi Commissioner of Police, challenging what he described as his “illegal detention”
Jimoh claimed he was wrongly arrested on June 21 over a land matter he had with his business partner and was subsequently detained without bail until he was released on June 22.
He claimed his arrest and detention was against sections 34, 35(1)(3)(4)(5)(6), 37 and 41(1)(2) of the nation’s 1999 constitution (as Amended) and Articles 2, 4, 5 and 12(1) of the African Charter of human and people’s rights (rectification and enforcement) Act (Cap 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
The plaintiff pleaded for an order to the police to pay him N50 million in damages and also tender a public apology to him tobe published in a national newspaper circulating within Kogi.
But Counsel to the Police, Mr S.I. Ikutanwa, objected to the application on the grounds that the police acted within the ember of the law stating that the applicant was arrested, detained for just a night and released on bail the next day.
Ikutanwa argued that the police has the right to act upon receiving any report or petition of breach of peace or threat to life by commencing investigation to restow law and order in the Nigerian society.
He had asked the court to dismiss the application for lacking in merit with cost.