Audu Maikori gets N40m judgement against El-Rufai, police
A federal high court in Abuja Friday ordered Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Nigerian police to pay a sum of N40 million to Chocolate City Group boss Audu Maikori as damages over his illegal arrests and detention.
Maikori was arrested on February 17 and on March 10, 2017, by the police over a series of tweets he sent to his followers, alleging that some students of the Kaduna State College of Education had been killed by Fulani herdsmen in Southern Kaduna.
Audu, El-Rufai said at the Social Media Week 2017 on March 2, was informed about the untrue nature of his posts but still doubled down on them.
“He posted fake pictures of Boko Haram attacks, the Rwandan genocide, as Southern Kaduna killings. It is totally irresponsible to do that.”
But Justice John Tsoho ruling on the fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by Maikori on May 5, 2017, said the rights of the Chocolate City’s boss were violated.
“The arrest was improper, irregular and wrongful. By necessary implication, the arrest was unlawful despite being released after 24 hours,” he said.
He, however, noted that his judgement would, in no way, affect Maikori’s separate ongoing trial at a Kaduna court.
The music mogul and lawyer was arrested earlier in the year by policemen attached to the inspector general’s monitoring and intelligence team, over ‘inciting comments’ he made on social media on Southern Kaduna killings.
In a series of tweets on January 23, he alleged that five students of Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, Kafanchan, were murdered by Fulani herdsmen.
“My driver’s younger brother and five others students of College of Education, Gidan Waya, were ambushed and killed by herdsmen yesterday #SouthernKaduna,” he said in one of the tweets.
But the school’s management denied that any of its students was killed. Kaduna State also condemned the misinformation and vowed to prosecute rumour peddlers.
Maikori later apologised for the wrong information contained in his tweets, claiming that he was misled by his driver, who himself was an indigene of Southern Kaduna. The driver, he said, was handed over to the police after he (Maikori) decided to further investigate the story to “ensure that all the facts of the case and evidence were presented to the authorities.”
“I hereby tender an unreserved and sincere apology to the Management of the College of Education, Gidan Waya, His Excellency the Governor of Kaduna State and the Kaduna State Government, and also to the people of Southern Kaduna and the Fulani community and also VANGUARD newspapers, whose source was my driver, for the false statement by my driver which I also publicized believing same to be true,” Maikori said in a statement on February 5.