Awka – The Rivers State Commissioner of Police and the disbanded Eagle Crack unit have been asked to pay the sum of twenty million naira as Damages for parading the owner of an orphanage home after they wrongfully accused her of running a baby factory.
Last year February, Rivers State Police Command paraded the owner of Tender Life Initiative Foundation Chinelo Odiakosa-Mmakwe and her staff for allegedly running an orphanage home.
But after Mrs. Odioakosa-Mmakwe was released from police custody, she dragged the Police authorities to court for violating her fundamental rights and demanded the sum of two hundred million naira as damages.
The presiding judge, Justice Muhammed Abubakar while delivering judgment on the matter, granted the seven reliefs sought by the claimant.
Justice Abubakar condemned the actions of the police and advised that parading of suspects is against their fundamental rights.
The Judge further urged the defendants in the matter to respect the rights of suspects and stop parading them, awarding damages to the tune of twenty million naira against the Police.
Lawyer to the owner of the orphanage home, Henry Ekeni in a chat with newsmen after the court proceedings, said the court frowned at the actions of the police against his client, hence the ruling.
“All seven prayers were granted to the effect that the court declared that arrest and detention as illegal and a violation of their fundamental human rights. The court also held that the detention of the citizens was in violation of their rights to dignity and therefore awarded the damages to the tune of about 20 million naira,” he explained.
Mr. Ekine commended the court for standing up to protect the rights of citizens but expressed worry about how difficult to enforce a judgment of court especially when it concerns the Police.
“We all know that it is one thing to get court judgement in Nigeria, but another to enforce it. It is even more difficult when it involves security agencies like the police. What we seek is that the courts are not seen as an object of caricature by the persistent violation of its rulings and measures be taken to ensure that justice is done to citizens as in the case of my client. For us, we will pursue the judgement to see that the Police do not continue to violate the rights of citizens,” he said.
When contacted, the owner of the Tender Life Initiative Foundation, Chinelo Odioakosa-Mmakwe said the judgment has vindicated her that she is innocent of the allegations leveled against her by the Police.
“I am really excited that there is still a justice system in Nigeria that looks out for the interest of the common citizens. For me, it is like I have been vindicated and all the character assassination has been upturned. I’m so passionate about my dream to help a whole lot more young women to get help irrespective of their social status. So, it is a good development for me and the justice sector,” she said.