- A Lagos Federal High Court has ordered the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) to pay a businessman, Uchechukwu Chukwuma the sum of N10m as damages
- Chukwuma was accused of pirating Nollywood movies by the force
- He said he was detained in police custody for almost two months in 2017
The case of Uchechukwu Chukwuma, a businessman who was accused of pirating Nollywood movies by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), has turned in his favour when a Lagos division of the Federal High Court ordered the force to pay him N10 million for damages.
The judge presiding over the case, Muslim Hassan, ruled that the police violated Chukwuma’s fundamental human rights, which includes his right to liberty, Premium Times reports.
The accused had filed a N100 million fundamental rights enforcement suit against the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) and the police following his arrest and detention for close to two months in 2017.
The judge said: “It is clear that the second respondent (the State Criminal Investigation Department) has no respect for the rule of law or the Constitution of Nigeria. The power of the police to investigate is not a licence to violate the Constitution.”
However, Hassan said that the NFVCB could not be held liable in the suit owing to the fact that they did not arrest Chukwuma but only reported him to the police.
The police arrested Chukwuma, a businessman at the Alaba International Market in Ojo, Lagos, in August 2018, and detained him at the Ojo police station. The next day, he was taken to the Area E police command in Festac Town where he was detained for five days.
Chukwuma was later taken to Abuja where he spent another five days in detention before he was released in September on the grounds of administrative bail.
He was re-arrested in October by the police and detained till November 30, when he was charged to court. The police said Chukwuma was detained based on intelligence reports that he was planning to escape to China.
Counsel to Chukwu said he was humiliated and punished before he was arraigned. He said: “He was detained under inhumane conditions, sleeping on bare floor.”
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Chukwuma and four others were arraigned last November before Hassan for allegedly duplicating and distributing unclassified, uncensored, and pirated material. All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the Lagos state commissioner of police, Edgar Imohimi,had said that two suspected child kidnappers had been engaged in a number of child kidnapping before luck ran out on them.
A 57-year-old herbalist, Tunde Ajibolorunsoro, allegedly renowned for child kidnapping, had been arrested by the Lagos state police command in connection with the abduction of a five-year-old girl.
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