Court slams N10 million fine on police for illegal detention of Anambra businessman

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An Anambra High Court sitting in Awka on Tuesday awarded N10 million as damages against the Nigeria Police Force and AIG Abutu Yaro, in charge of Zone 13 of the Nigeria Police.

It was over the illegal detention of one Chukwuemeka Ekwueme, a real estate developer.

Presiding Justice D. A. Onyefulu, a vacation judge, also awarded N200,000 as cost of litigation in favour of the plaintiff.

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Justice Onyefulu also issued a restraining order on the police from arresting, detaining, harassing or intimidating Mr Ekwueme on the same matter and ruled that the police should, instead prefer charges against him.

The judgment resulted from Suit No. A/Misc 461/2022 which Mr Ekwueme filed against the defendants to enforce his rights to freedom.

Counsel to Mr Ekwueme, Alex Ejesieme (SAN), had earlier told the court that the police arrested and detained his client between December 14 and December 28, 2022, without charging him to court.

The arrest and detention, he added, was in relation to an attempt by Mr Ekwueme to develop a parcel of land at Oba International Airport in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra.

He argued that the police arrested his client based on a petition by the community and detained him between December 14 and December 28, 2022, without prosecuting him.

Other defendants in the suit were Nkiru Nwode, police spokesperson at Zone 13 of the Nigeria Police Force and Emmanuel Awah, an officer in the office of the spokesperson.

The same court ordered the immediate release of Mr Ekwueme on December 28, 2022, following a bail application by his counsel.

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