Court Awards N27m Damages Against NSCDC Officers For Assaulting Lawyers

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Officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps have been fined N27 million by a high court in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, for assaulting two lawyers, Stanley Nnabuo and Boluwatife Sanya.

The lawyers had gone to the NSCDC’s Oyo State headquarters in October 2022 to try to negotiate the release of Mr. Banjo, who was allegedly being held in one of the organization’s facilities.

The lawyers claim that Banjo was held for more than 24 hours as a result of his wife, an NSCDC officer, complaining that he had not given her their child as soon as he should have.

The lawyers, upon their visit to the civil defence headquarters to seek the release of Banjo, were reportedly beaten by officers of the law enforcement agency.

The lawyers, therefore, in December 2022, approached the court, seeking enforcement of fundamental human rights, in the suit No: M/1039/2022, against the State Commandant, Commandant General of the NSCDC, and four others.

Justice M. Owolabi sitting in High Court 12, in a judgment delivered on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, granted the sum of N27m in the case against the law enforcement agency and ordered the NSCDC to tender a public apology to Nnabuo and Sanya.

According to a statement of the Chairman, Young Lawyer’s Forum, NBA, Ibadan branch on the judgement reads:

Dear Colleagues,

Today, being the 17th day of January 2023, Honourable Justice Owolabi sitting in High Court 12, in two fundamental right enforcement suits filed by two young lawyers in Ibadan delivered judgements against the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Commandant General and 4 Ors. to the tune of Twenty-Seven Million Naira as damages amongst other reliefs.

The two young lawyers are Stanley Amarachi Nnabuo and myself (Boluwatife John Sanya).

Esteemed colleagues, you will recall that sometimes in October 2022, Boluwatife John Sanya and Stanley Amarachi Nnabuo visited the state headquarters of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to secure the release of one Mr. Banjo who was detained in the custody of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

The basis of Mr. Banjo’s unlawful detention for over 24 hours was a supposed complaint made by his wife (who is an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps) to her superiors that Mr. Banjo did not release the child of the marriage to her when he ought to.

The two young lawyers visited the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps office in Ibadan to secure the release of Mr. Banjo but they were beaten blue-black by officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Honourable Justice Owolabi sitting in High Court 12, in a well detailed judgment delivered today granted the sum of twenty-seven million naira collectively in the two cases and ordered the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to tender a public apology to Mr. Nnabuo.

It is pertinent to note that the harassment of Lawyers (especially the younger ones) by law enforcement agencies is becoming a norm. These are just two out of numerous cases where young lawyers are being harassed by law enforcement agencies all over the country.

The Young Lawyers’ Forum, Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan branch states unequivocally that this will not be a full stop to litigating issues like this and bringing law enforcement agencies to book.

Enough of the barbaric and ruthless behaviour by the officers!

We seize this opportunity to appreciate all colleagues (especially the league of young lawyers led by Adedeji Falujo Esq.) who were upright throughout the struggle.

Boluwatife Sanya
Chairman,
Young Lawyers’ Forum,
Nigerian Bar Association,
Ibadan branch.

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