Ifeanyi Ibezim to pay 1m damage for human rights violation, court order
Ifeanyi Ibezim to pay 1m damage for human rights violation, court order
An Anambra High Court has ordered Hon. Ifeanyi Ibezim, a former House of Representatives member to pay the sum of N1 million to Mr Paul Onwughalu and Mr Friday Titus Umah as damage for violating their fundamental human rights.

The High Court which sat at Oba also ordered Ibezim, who represented Idemili North/ South to pay the sum of N100,000 to the duo as cost of litigation and a public apology in a daily newspaper that circulates in Anambra.

Ibezim, member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, was sworn in after the 2019 general election but was sacked by the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu and replaced with Hon Obinna Chidoka of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The Applicants had dragged the ousted lawmaker to an Anambra High Court, Idemili judicial division over violation of fundamental human right and unlawful detention.

The applicants in their suit marked HID/MISC/81/2019 said they were prevented from pasting the campaign posters of their principal, Uche Annie Okonkwo, who was the candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the 2019 general election.

P.W. Okose Esq and C.J.Chinwuba Esq, appeared for the applicants, E.E. Ofodeme-Obadike Esq and Kalu Onwuchekwa, Esq appeared for first to fifth respondents while A.A Nwano appeared for the sixth and seventh respondents.

The plaintiffs had sought an order of the court for Ibezim and the co-defendants to pay them the sum of N150 million as damage as well as public apology in a newspaper.

Other respondents in the suit were Mr Anayo Ephraim Ndubuisi, Mr. Osita Agbaleke, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Udoh, Mr Chinasa Okoye, SP Obisesan Olusegun (DPO Eziowelle Police Station) and Commissioner Of Police in Anambra.

In their four grounds suit, the plaintiff said that they were beaten, tortured, sustained bodily harm and got dispossessed of the posters and the gum which they used for pasting the posters before they were forcefully arrested by the defendants and detained in a toilet at the premises of Ibezim’s residence at Abatete.

They said they underwent physical and mental torture before being handed over to Police Division in Eziowelle where they were detained without making statement or being told what their offences were.

They said the acts violated their fundamental Rights and against the spirit of section 39(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and Article IX of African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

In his judgment, Hon Justice Emeka Nri-Ezedi said the suit had merit and that the plaintiffs proved their case with sufficient and vital evidence.

“I declare that the arrest, beating and torture and agony inflicted on the applicants by the second respondent on Dec. 29, 2018 and forcefully detaining or confining the applicants in a toilet in the first respondent’s premises from Dec 29 to Dec 30, 2018 at the instigation of the first respondent is unlawful, unconstitutional and a violation of the applicants’ fundament right.

“I declare that the forceful arrest of the applicants at Nnobi on Dec. 29, 2018 by the second to fifth respondents and detaining or confining the applicants in a toilet in the premises of the first respondent from Dec. 29 to Dec. 30, 2018 at the instigation of the first respondent contrary to the laid down procedure under section 9(2)(3) and 18(1) of Anambra criminal justice law, 2010 is unlawful, unconstitutional and violation of applicants right to personal liberty.

“The first to fifth respondents are hereby ordered to jointly and severally tender apology to the applicants in one daily newspaper that circulates in Anambra state.

“I award the sum of N1 million in favour of the applicants and against the first to fifth defendants jointly and severally being damages for the infringement of the applicants fundamental rights.

“The applicants are also entitled to the cost of this action, I award the sum of N100, 000 in favour of the applicants and against the respondents jointly and severally,” he said.

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