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Court orders police to pay businessman N1m in damages

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court  has ordered the police to pay N1 million in ompensation to a businessman, Dallaji Nuhu, for violating his rights and personal liberty.

The court’s order followed Nuhu’s application for enforcement of his rights in suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2098/23, where he had alleged gross violation of his right by the defendants.

The respondents in the suit are the Nigeria police force, Area commander , Metro Maitama and Muhammad Hussani.

The applicant in his suit said that in November 2021, he took a loan of 105,000 dollars (with conversion rate of about N75.9million) from the fourth respondent ( Hussani) with a promise to remit in instalments.

While the applicant said though he had remitted substantial amount leaving about N41,000, the 4th respondent insisted he should pay additional N49,300, using  the 2022 exchange rate.

The applicant, however, insisted on paying N41,000 being the correct amount based on the 2021 exchange rate.

” In a bid to forcefully make me pay N49,300,, the 4th respondent got the officers of the 1st – 3rd Respondents to arrest me on 13/01/23 from my private residence in Abuja,” the applicant told the court

He claimed that he was eventually released by the respondents after extracting a promissory note that he will pay N49,300.

The applicant subsequently instituted a suit that his right to freedom of movement, private and family life were threatened by the acts of the respondents.

The applicant claimed he had not committed any crime to warrant his such treatment meted out to him by the respondents.

He prayed the court for a declaration that his arrest of by the 1st – 3rd Respondents and forcing him to enter into an agreement with the 4th Respondent in a bid to pay the 4th Respondent the sum of N49,300,000 was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void as it violated Section 35, 36, 38 and 39 of the 1999 Constitutions.

He sought for N50 Million in damages.

Delivering judgment, Justice Peter Kekemeke, berated the respondents for being overzealous.

”Civil transaction is not one of the crimes contained in the penal or criminal code, saying that the 1st – 3rd respondents are not empowered by law to recover loan.

” In the instant case, the Police became a busy body , a meddlesome interlopers who
abandoned its core duties to dabble into issues that are outside their work.

“The applicants right to personal liberty in my view has been breached by the 2nd – 4th respondent.

“The applicant has been able to prove by evidence how his rights under Section 36 and 37 were breached.

” From the evidence before me, the 4th respondent seems to be looking for a fast and easy way to compel the applicant to recover his loan.

” There is an agreement by both parties that applicant borrowed the said sum from the 4th respondent.

“There are easy procedures in our laws for the recovery of such non contentious funds in the shortest possible time” he held.

The judge held that,the 4th respondent should have invoked the right law against the applicant instead of inviting the Police into a matter such as this.

“The 4th respondent is a temptation the 2nd and 3rd respondents ought not to have fallen into.”

He further held that falling into it has caused an infringement of the personal liberty of the applicant.

He, however. advised the applicant to pay his debt and redeem his image.

” In totality the application succeeds in part:

“It is hereby declared that the arrest of the applicant by officers of the 1st – 3rd respondents and forcing him to pay the 4th respondent the sum of N49,300 is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

” The officers of the 1st to 3rd respondents are hereby restrained from forcing the applicant to pay the 4th respondent the balance of the borrowed money.

” N1 Million compensation in favour of the applicant against the respondents for the infringement of the applicant’s Fundamental Right to Personal Liberty” he held.( NAN)

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