A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Department of State Service to immediately and unconditionally release a businessman, Mr. Emeka Ngornadi, who was arrested and detained by the agency since April, 2021.
This is contained in a judgement delivered by Honourable Justice Maha, who also awarded the sum of N5 million in favour of Ngornadi as compensatory and exemplary damages.
In September 2021, The PUNCH reported that the plaintiff, through his lawyer, Festus Ogun, brought the DSS before the Federal High Court, Abuja, in his bid to enforce his fundamental human rights.
Ngornadi prayed the court to declare that his arrest and continued detention by the DSS without any probable cause violated his right to personal freedom and liberty.
In the application marked FHC/ABJ/CS/994/2021, he also prayed the court to declare that his physical and mental torture and continued detention were cruel punishments under Section 34 (a) of the constitution and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004.
Ngornadi also sought for “an order of this honourable court directing the first respondent and second respondent to immediately and unconditionally release the applicant.
“An injunction restraining the respondents whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from further arresting and detaining the applicant and constituting a threat or hindrance to the applicant’s life, property, and investments and business in any manner whatsoever.”
In the affidavit supporting his application, it was claimed that Ngornadi was on his way from Lagos to Anambra State in April to meet with his pregnant wife when he was intercepted and arrested at Ore, Ondo State, by DSS officials.
The affidavit also stated that the DSS had detained Ngornadi for about one month in Lagos before he was transferred to Abuja where he was currently being detained.
The affidavit also claimed that Ngornadi was forced and tortured to identify himself as a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
Ngornadi’s lawyer, Ogun, while speaking to The PUNCH on Thursday said the Tuesday judgement was a “victory against tyranny and arbitrary clampdown on citizens liberty.”
He said, “the DSS is now left no other option than to release my client immediately. Indeed, this is a victory over reckless abuse of human rights.”