Court fines Ogun CP, five others N25m for unlawful detention


A High Court of Justice in Ogun State, Abeokuta Judicial Division, has awarded N25m in damages against the office of the Ogun State Commissioner of Police and five others for the unlawful arrest and detention of one Sunday Mafe.

According to a judgement obtained on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, signed by Justice E.O. Osinuga on Monday, February 5, 2024, the court held that the detention of Mafe several times by men of the Nigeria Police Force was against his fundamental human rights.

The judge also held that the several detentions of the applicant, Mafe, on December 2 to 5, 2016; December 16 to 20, 2016, and December 23 to 29, 2016, based on a petition that was written by Yomi Nuberu, a lawyer, on behalf of one Chief Sakirudeen Olufowobi, over a civil and land matter for which the police did not have jurisdiction, was without lawful justification, unconstitutional, and unlawful.

The court warned the police that their job does not include civil transactions, disputes, contracts, or land disputes.

The case with suit no. HCJ/150/2017 was between the applicant, Sunday Mafe, and the Commissioner of Police, Ogun State; former Area Commander, Ijebu Ode, Assistant Commissioner of Police Funsho Ajao (retd.); Team Leader Eleweran, Inspector Rotimi; Team Leader Eleweran, Supol Nurudeen Ayinla; Team Leader, Igbeba, Inspector Gbenga Folorunso, and Team Leader, Igbeba, Inspector Wasiu Tijani.

The application was brought by the breach of Section 125A Criminal Code CAP C38 and the breach of the applicant’s fundamental human rights as enshrined in Sections 34 and 45 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

According to the suit filed by Kayode Oshiyemi, Mafe held that he was detained several times by the men of the Nigeria Police Force in December based on a petition that was written by Yomi Nuberu on behalf of Olufowobi.

He also alleged he was accused of having arms and ammunition, but nothing was found in his house, and he was detained despite the same, and that he was accused of collecting the sum of N10.8m from Olufowobi in a civil transaction that had to do with land ownership.

Consequently, Justice Osinuga awarded the sum of N25m to be paid to Mafe as damages for his unlawful detention by the police.

The judgement read, “Having resolved issues 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 in favour of the claimant/applicant, I hold that the claim of claimant/applicant against the respondents succeeds accordingly, it is ordered:

“The sum of N25,000,000.00 (twenty-five million naira) is hereby awarded for the applicant and against the 1-6 respondents jointly and severally as general and compensatory damages for breach of the applicant’s fundamental rights as enshrined in Sections 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

“An order mandating/compelling the respondents to tender public apology to the applicant for breach of his fundamental rights in writing and in two national newspapers within four months of this judgment, giving three months window to appeal.

“A declaration that the respondents should stop harassing the applicant with threats of further arrest and stop using the machinery of police as a tool for intimidation and oppression of the applicant as it relates to facts disclosed in this suit.”

The applicant was represented by Kayode Oshiyemi and R. A. Adebanjo.

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