Maxwell Opara, one of the legal representatives of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, on Monday, filed a N50million fundamental rights’ enforcement suit against the Department of State Services (DSS).

Opara, who alleged that he was on August 30 exposed to various degrading treatments when he went to visit Kanu in custody of the DSS as ordered by the court, also cited the secret police as the 2nd Respondent in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1018/2021, while the Director-General, Yusuf Bichi, is first respondent. 

Nnamdi Kanu

The applicant told the court that DSS operatives, had upon his arrival to see Kanu, manhandled and taken him to a particular room within their facility for purposes of alleged bodily search, “wherein they forced him to remove his medicated eye-glasses, wedding ring, belt, jacket, and shoes and accordingly left him shabbily dressed.”

SaharaReporters had last week reported that Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lead counsel to Kanu, spoke about his experience during the visit saying, “today’s visit witnessed a fundamental change in the hitherto procedures conventionally adopted for conducting the visit.

“We were initially unperturbed by the method now introduced by the DSS, but we feel compelled in the prevailing circumstance to make public our strange experience which borders on the improper treatment of lawyers in the course of conducting a court-ordered visit to their Client who is undergoing trial.”

In the count, Opara told the court that he was subjected to the humiliation of holding his trousers with his hands, wearing bathroom sandals meant for awaiting trial inmates and exposed to an Air Conditioner-inflicted cold for three hours.

Opara insisted that the action the DSS took against him, amounted to a gross violation of his right to dignity of human person as guaranteed under Sections 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), as well as Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN.

He specifically prayed the court for; “A declaration that the Respondents, whilst in the execution of their duties must respect the fundamental rights of citizens and accordingly abide by the provisions of Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the provisions of the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.

“A declaration that the actions of the men, operatives and officers under the command commission of the Respondents on the 30th of August, 2021 during the Applicant’s visit to see his client in their detention facility, wherefore they commandeered the Applicant to a particular room within their facility; for purposes of alleged bodily search, wherein they forced him to remove his medicated eye-glasses, wedding ring, belt, jacket and shoes and accordingly left him shabbily dressed, harassed, intimidated and humiliated, amounts to a gross violation of the Applicant’s right to dignity of human person as guaranteed under Sections 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN.

“A declaration that the actions of the men, operatives and officers under the command/commission of the Respondents on the 30th of August, 2021 during the Applicant’s visit to see his client in their detention facility, wherefore they commandeered the Applicant to a particular room within their facility; for purposes of alleged bodily search, wherein they forcibly removed his belt, medicated eye-glasses, wedding ring, jacket and shoes, and subjected him to the humiliation of holding his trousers with his hands, wearing a bathroom slippers meant for awaiting trial inmates and exposed to Air Conditioner inflicted cold for 3 hours, are not permitted by law; even during bodily search.”

Opara prayed the court to award him the N50million as compensation for the infringement of his fundamental rights to dignity and human person.

As well as, an order of perpetual injunction restraining the two Defendants and their representatives further disturbing or interfering with his rights to dignity of human person, liberty and freedom of movement by any further harrasment, intimidation and humiliation during his routine visit to their detention facility to see his client or in any way infringing on his constitutional right as guaranteed by the law.

More so, the applicant, demanded a written apology by the respondents, to be published in two national daily Newspapers for the unwarranted infringement of his fundamental rights.

He further prayed for an order of court directing the Respondents to jointly and severally pay for the cause of the action.

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.

 

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