A Federal High Court sitting in Benin, Edo State, on Wednesday reserved judgment on the suit filed by a single mother, Ms Happy Okojie, who is demanding N350m from the Department of State Services and a Lebanese businessman, Charles Makhoul, over her illegal detention for April 27.
Justice Mohammed Umar adjourned for judgement after the adoption of written addresses by both the applicant and respondents’ counsel.Okojie had taken the DSS and the Lebanese to court for illegally detaining her for nine days.
The applicant claimed that during the detention, she was denied access to her lawyer and family members, while her telephone was seized.
Joined in the suit No. FHC/B/cs/120/2019, were the director-general of the DSS, the Edo State director of the DSS, and the Lebanese.
Okojie said she was first taken into the DSS facility in Benin before she was whisked to Abuja without knowing the offence she committed.
“In the night I was taken into custody, my two-year-old daughter cried and wandered about all through the night before she was discovered by the roadside by her school teacher, who came to pick her to school.
“While at the DSS facility in Abuja under video recording, I was forced to accept the sum of N6m as compensation,” she said.
Counsel for Okojie, Mr Titus Akahomen, explained that the illegal detention from July 9 to 16, 2019, was not only an infringement on her fundamental human rights, but also unlawful and unconstitutional.
She subsequently demanded N350m as damages for the violation of her rights by the first to third respondents.
The applicant also asked the court to award her N50m as exemplary damages for the unlawful and unwarranted infractions on her rights.
When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, there was a demonstration by members of a non-governmental organisation, Citizens of Good Conscience/Global Widows for Justice, who demanded justice for the single mother.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions, including, ‘Justice for Happy,’ ‘Stand against sexual abuse,’ and ‘Enough is enough’ as they marched on the premises of the court.