Court Dismisses Kanu Lawyer’s Appeal Against Police, DSS Over Unlawful Arrest

An appeal by one of the lawyers to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, Felix Okonkwo has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja.

Okonkwo, Ikenna Chibuike and Oķafor Ugochukwu has filled appeal against the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in a case they brought against the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Department of State Services (DSS) over unlawful arrest and detention.

They accused the two security agencies of violating their fundamental rights by their unlawful arrest and detention on September 27, 2021, during which they claimed that they were tortured, harassed, and intimidated while in the custody of the police.

Justice Samaila Bature, in his judgment delivered on March 24, 2022, found the police liable for the unlawful arrest and detention of the appellants and subsequently imposed a fine of N2 million against the police to be paid to the appellants.

Justice Bature, however, did not give any order against the DSS because the appellants did not disclose any cause of action against the agency.

Not satisfied by the judgment, the appellants approached the court of appeal, claiming the N2m fine imposed on the police was ridiculously low.

They also urged the court to hold that the DSS was also culpable for their arrest and detention.

Reading the lead judgement on Monday, Justice Okon Abang dismissed the appeal for lack of merit and substance.

Justice Abang held that the appellants failed to establish a miscarriage of justice in the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in the matter.

He also held that from the video footage tendered as exhibit by the appellants at the trial court, nowhere were the operatives of the DSS found at the scene of their arrest in the house of Ifeanyi Ejiofor in Anambra State.

He futher disagreed with the appellants in their claims that the N2m damages were grossly insufficient, adding that awarding damages was at the discretion of a judge and could not be dictated by any plaintiff or appellant.

“In my opinion and going by the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, the N2 million compensation to the appellants was properly awarded.

“I cannot fault the award because the appellant did not give any good reason for them to have been awarded a much higher amount.”

“In the final analysis, the appeal lacks merit, and it is accordingly dismissed. The decision of the trial court is hereby affirmed. There is order as to cost,” Justice Abang held.