Chido Onumah, a Nigerian journalist illegally arrested and detained by
the Department of State Services, has filed a N150-million lawsuit
against the secret police.
Onumah was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport upon his return from
Spain on September 29.
The DSS released Onumah hours after detaining him while claiming that
the detention was to keep him safe and prevent him from possible mob
Onumah, in an interview with SaharaReporters, said he was arrested and
illegally detained as he also said he was barred from contacting
anyone for hours, stated that he had filed a lawsuit demanding N150
Onumah listed Yusuf Bichi, DSS' director general, as the first
respondent and the DSS as the second respondent in the case.
Onumah, in the suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1270/2019 stated that the DSS
infringed on his fundamental rights and sought for the “enforcement of
his fundamental human rights to dignity of his person, right to
personal liberty, freedom of expression and right to own personal
property brought pursuant to Section 34, 35, 39, 41 and 44 of the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)".
Giving a breakdown of the compensation, Onumah said compensatory
damage of N100 million would be for the violation of his fundamental
human rights while exemplary damages of N50 million for “setback,
trauma, psychological and emotional distress experienced and still
He also prayed the court: “A declaration that the unlawful seizure of
the applicant’s T-Shirt and coercion to write an undertaking never to
wear the said T-Shirt again by officials and/or agents of the
respondents amounts to a violation of his right to own property and
his right to freedom of expression as contained in sections 39 and 44
of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as
“A declaration that the mental and physical trauma which the applicant
had to endure during the period of time he was held in detention by
officials and/or agents of the respondents constitutes a violation of
his right to dignity of his person as provided in Section 34 of the
1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“An order of Mandamus compelling the first respondent to carry out a
thorough and in-depth investigation and prosecution of all its
officers and/or agents directly and remotely responsible for the
applicant’s unlawful arrest and violation of his fundamental rights.
“A written unreserved apology from the respondents to the applicant to
be published in two national dailies for the harassment and
unwarranted mental and physical trauma meted on the applicant while in
custody of the respondents.
“An order for the immediate release of the applicant’s T-shirt.”