Alleged Torture: Incarcerated Enugu indigenes drag police commissioner to court

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Alleged Torture: Incarcerated Enugu indigenes drag police commissioner to court

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Enugu State Commissioner of Police, CP Mr Kanayo Uzuegbu has been dragged to the Federal High Court, Enugu Division, over alleged unlawful arrest and torture of five indigenes of the state.

Four different suits were filed on Wednesday by the applicants.

They include: Prince Reginald Nwoye, Ifeanyi Ngene, Charles Ugwu and Sunday Egbo.

They are all accusing the police commissioner, as well as CSP Chidera Ijeoma and SP Chidolue Ekeleme of violating their rights.

In Prince Reginad’s suit, MOTION NO: FHC/EN/C8/61/24, he is seeking “a Declaration that the actions of police officers under the active control of the 1st to 3rd Respondents in arresting, torturing and brutalising the Applicant on account of a purported community land dispute between Etiti-Ngwo and Umugwuakum Akwuke community constitute a gross violation and infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right to; Right to life, Dignity of Human Person, Personal Liberty, Fair Hearing, Peaceful Assembly and Association, Access to Court as guaranteed by sections 33, 34, 35, 36 (4), 40, and 46 of Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) and Article 5 of African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights (Ratification & Enforcement) Act CAP A9 LFN 2004 and are accordingly wrongful and illegal.

“A Declaration of court that the actions of the respondents acting jointly and severally sometime in March, 2024 and further on the 5th day of April, 2024 till the filing of this application in arresting, detaining and torturing the Applicant till date at the behest of Etiti-Ngwo Community is an infraction on the Applicant’s fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).

“An Order enforcing the applicant’s fundamental rights to Right to life, Dignity of Human Person, Personal Liberty, Fair Hearing, Peaceful Assembly and Association, Access to Court as guaranteed by sections 33, 34, 35, 36 (4), 40, and 46 of Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) and Article 5 of African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights (Ratification & Enforcement) Act CAP A9 LFN 2004 and are accordingly wrongful and illegal.

“AN Order of court releasing the Applicant unconditionally.

“AN Order of court, restraining the respondents from harassing, intimidating, arresting or causing the arrest of the Applicant in connection with the purported land dispute or related disputes in the community.

“An Order directing and mandating the 1st Respondent to tender an apology to the Applicant by particularly publishing the said apology in a national newspaper widely read in Nigeria.

“An award of N200,000,000.00 (Two Hundred Million Naira Only) jointly and severally against all the respondents as general damages, as well as an award of N5 million as cost of action.”

They claimed in the suit that their Akwuke community wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police against some unknown gunmen terrorising their area and also guarding some hoodlums who were demolishing houses and bringing down fences in their area.

“That in response to the petition, the police team from the Inspector General of Police arrived at the scene sometimes in March, 2024 and some of the unknown gunmen and hoodlums escaped from being arrested; but the police arrested five of the hoodlums and recovered four guns which have Etiti-Ngwo inscribed on them; and upon enquiries, police discovered that it was the Etiti-Ngwo people that provided the guns that the unknown gunmen were using to terrorize the area.

“That in an unfortunate twist, Prince Reginald Nwoye, the Applicant and other people who acted as pointers to the police for the arrest of some of the unknown gunmen approached some people in army uniform that came to the area to enquire their reason for coming to the area; the people wearing the army uniform who turned out to be military men beat the Applicant and some other persons with him up for asking them questions; and thereafter took them and handed them over to MTD Police Station Awkunanaw, the station in turn handed them over to CSP Chidiebere Ijeoma who has been practically fighting them in favour of Etiti-Ngwo people – Etiti-Ngwo is in Udi Local Government area of Enugu State.

“That the Applicant was detained and tortured until towards the end of March, 2024 when the Applicant and the others were momentarily released on bail.

“That on the 5th of April, 2024, on the invitation of the Commissioner of Police Enugu State, the Applicant, Prince Reginald Nwoye and others attended a meeting at the Enugu State Police Command (State CID); he was arrested therein, detained, and tortured; and since then, he has been under physical, emotional, mental and psychological torture until the 12th day of April, 2024 when he was handed over to S.P Ekeleme’s Team; which Team has taken him to their facility (Anti-Cult) for further detention and torture at the behest of Etiti-Ngwo people.

“That the Respondents have no justifiable reasons for harassing and detaining the Applicant over a land dispute in which matter has been determined and judgment given at the Court of Appeal and it is indeed an anathema for the Police to collude with Ngwo people to be intimidating, arresting and detaining Etiti-Ngwo people.

“That the actions of the Respondents jointly and severally are in violation of the Fundamental Human Rights of the Applicant as guaranteed in sections 33, 34, 35, 36 (4), 40, and 46 of Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) and Article 5 of African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights (Ratification & Enforcement) Act CAP A9 LFN 2004 and are accordingly wrongful and illegal,” they further told the court.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the motion.

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