Maikori’s detention: Court awards N40m against El-rufai, Police
Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, yesterday awarded N40million compensation against Kaduna State Governor Nasir El Rufai and the state’s Commissioner of Police.
The judgment was in a N21billion fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Audu Maikori against the Inspector General of Police, Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State Governor and the Attorney General of the State, in the suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/385/17.
Maikori, the Chief Executive Officer of Chocolate City Entertainment, had challenged his arrest and detention by the Police over a tweet he wrote on his Twitter handle.
Maikori was first arrested in Lagos on February 17, this year and detained for 24 hours in Abuja on allegations of posting inciting materials on the Internet.
El-rufai had pledged to ensure Maikori’s prosecution for allegedly circulating inflammatory materials capable of exacerbating the deadly conflict in Southern Kaduna.
In the tweet, Maikori had allegedly posted that some Southern Kaduna students were killed by Fulani herdsmen, for which he later apologised, stressing that his driver had misinformed him.
Out of 25 reliefs sought by Maikori, the court granted 14 and refused the others.
In his judgment, Justice Tsoho ordered the respondents, jointly and severally, to pay the applicant the sum of N10million only as compensation for the violations of his right to personal liberty, as enunciated in Section 35(6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and for the loss of his business earnings while in detention.
The court also ordered the respondents to pay, jointly and severally, as general damages, the sum of N10million for injury to character, self-reputation, business reputation, esteem, proper feeling of pride of the applicant, his staff, management and the applicant’s other international business concerns.
In addition, Justice Tsoho granted an order for payment of damages in the sum of N20million for injury to health, for medical bills incurred by the applicant in treating himself and for psychological damage done on the applicant.
The court also awarded N1, 430 as cost of suit, as well as 10 per cent interest per annum on damages until total and final liquidation of same.
The Judge held that following the tweet on the social media, the applicant (Maikori) has made himself liable to be arrested, even though he realised that he was misinformed by his driver, saying: “I hold the respectful view that by virtue of his act, the applicant made himself liable to be deprived of his personal liberty.”
The court, however, noted that an arrest made by the Police upon reasonable suspicion of committing of a crime is lawful, but further clarified that the judgment was in respect of the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the applicant. “The judgment is without prejudice for the offences for which the applicant is standing trial.
“The judgment will serve as a lesson to law enforcement agencies. They should discharge their duties in accordance with constitutional requirements and not with impunity,” he held.
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