A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday declared as unlawful, the arrest, detention, and parade of an oil marketer, Alhaji Alaka Abayomi before the media on July 31, 2017, by the Nigerian Police as an alleged sponsor and godfather of the murderous ritual group, Badoo.
Justice Muslim Hassan also knocked the police for Abayomi’s detention beyond 24 hours without a court order
But he declined the request of an award of exemplary damages of N500m by the oil marketer against the police.
The judge also declined his prayer that the court should order the police to “publish and furnish an unreserved apology to the applicant in four national daily newspapers and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp.”
The judge regretted that despite evidence that the police were served with the suit and hearing notices, they did not show up in court to defend it.
Joined as respondents in the suit, were the Inspector-General of Police, Commissioner of Police in Lagos State; and CSP Obot Umoh of the IGP Special Tactical Squad, Lagos.
In his judgment, Justice Hassan held that “I can see that despite the hearing notice ordered by this court to be served on the respondents, no counter-affidavit was filed to controvert the claims of the plaintiff, which amount to an admission by the respondents.
“I have read and examined the relief and the affidavit of the applicant in the instant suit, which is not contradicted, and discovered that the detention of the plaintiff herein beyond 24 hours, without an order of the court, is a breach of his fundamental rights enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
“I agree that the police cannot be prevented from carrying out their constitutional duty, but this must be done within the purview of the law and the constitution.”
Alaka had, in the suit filed through his lawyer, Ojehomon Tunde, urged the court to declare that his arrest at his residence in the Magodo area of Lagos and his consequent detention for over 48 hours at the Lagos Command of the Nigeria Police Force was a violation of his right to personal liberty under Section 35 of the constitution.