The Sun News

Court awards N10m damage to Onitsha bizman for unlawful arrest, detention 

From: Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

A High Court, sitting in Ihiala, Anambra State, has ordered police officers attached to zone 9, Umuahia, that an Onitsha-based business man Mr. Joachim Obiagwu, and an Onitsha-based legal practitioner Mr. Anayo Ambrose Emejuo, should pay a trader at the Electronics at the  International Market, Onitsha, Hon. Emmanuel Ebirim, the sum of N10.25 million as damages and cost for unlawful arrest, detention and illegal execution of his properties.

Ebirim had approached the court to challenge the infringement on his rights. His counsel Mr. C.O.I Agwuna had filed a case of fundamental rights in which he sought the sum of N500 million as special, general and compensatory damages against the respondents.

Presiding Judge, Justice Ifeanyi Nweze, while delivering the judgement in an application to enforce his fundamental rights, granted the complainant the sum of N10.25million as damages, noting that any person unlawfully arrested and detained was entitled to compensation.

Justice Nweze stated that the arrest of and detention of Ebirim at Onitsha by the 4th and 5th respondents (Supol Obiageli Anikwue and Corporal Esua Okponghomen) at the instigation of the 7th respondent Mr. Obiagwu was unlawful and unconstitutional violation of the applicants fundamental rights, hence the award of the sum as damages.

The court frowned against what it termed the reprehensible conduct of the 6th respondent Mr. Anayo Emejuo who having filed the counter claim of the 7th respondent (Mr. Obiagwu) where he claimed for arrears of rents and while the case still pending at the High Court Onitsha, he headed for the Customary Court sitting in Fegge to claim for the same arrears of rents which he claimed at the High Court and even testified before that court as a witness.

The court therefore advised the applicants to ensure that all the relevant processes were forwarded with a petition to the appropriate authority to ensure that disciplinary proceedings were taken against the 6th respondent Mr. Emejuo, since it was the judgement font he Customary Court that triggered the events that led to the arrest and detention of Mr. Ebirim.

The Court recalled that after the execution was levied, by the customary court Ebirim reported a case of Criminal trespass stealing among others a Police Area Command Onitsha against Mr. Obiagwu. When however the police stepped into the matter, Obiagwu went to zone 9 Umuahais which led to. Ebirim’s arrest and detention at Onitsha and Umuahia before he was brought back Onitsha for arraignment.

The respondent, Obiagwu, and his lawyer had gone to a Customary Court in Fegge, Onitsha South to unlawfully procured judgement without serving the ex-tenant Mr. Ebirim the originating processes of that Court before judgement was pronounced against him (Ebirim) in his absence and his properties levied by bailiffs of that court.


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June 2018
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