*Says The Alleged Ebonyi State Security Council Resolution Leading To The Arrest Is Unconstitutional
*Grants Injunction Restraining The Respondents From Further Arresting Okorie
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has on Monday, the 20th day of June, 2022 in the case of Hon. Linus Okorie v. The IG of Police & Ors. with suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/108/2022 has declared the actions of Ebonyi State Government and the Nigeria Police Force of pronouncing and indicting Hon. Linus Okorie as a wanted person for opinion purportedly expressed on Okorie`s page, without affording him the opportunity to defend himself as a breach of 7 (1), (b) and (c) of the African Charter on Human and People`s Rights (Ratifications and Enforcement) Act, 2004, and that the subsequent arrest by the Nigeria Police Force was unlawful as it was made without a warrant.
The judgement order which was made by Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo, was delivered after careful examination of the facts by the court.
The applicant who is a chartered accountant, was a member of the House of Representatives between 2011-2019 and a high profiled politician in Ebonyi State was declared wanted pursuant to a resolution made in Ebonyi State Security Council meeting held on 25th January, 2020 and subsequently arrested, detained and harassed based on directives on the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th respondent over an alleged and undisclosed opinion purportedly expressed on the applicants page without giving the applicant opportunity to defend himself.
The case had been commenced by the applicant, through his lawyer, Nkemakolam Okoro, against the IG of Police, Commissioner of Police Ebonyi State, The DSS, Ebonyi State Government, Attorney General of Ebonyi State, the Commissioner of Information and State Orientation, Ebonyi State, S.A to the Gov. of Ebonyi State on Internal security, through an originating summons dated 27th January 2022, which sought by the applicant, 15 orders from the court which ranged from order as to cost to order of restraints of the respondent, public apology from the respondents and order that the actions of the respondents were unlawful and violation of the fundamental right of the applicants.
After considering the merit of the court, the court declared that the public pronouncement and indictment by the Applicant as a wanted person pursuant to the alleged resolution arrived at the Ebonyi State Security Council meeting held on 25th January, 2022 without first giving the applicant opportunity to defend himself amounted to a flagrant breach of the fundamental rights of the Applicant to fair hearing under Articles 7 (1), (b) and (c) of the African Charter on Human and People`s Rights (Ratifications and Enforcement) Act, 2004, and thus unlawful and unconstitutional. The court also declared that the subsequent arrest by the 1st – 3rd respondent at the request of the 5th – 9th respondent pursuant to the alleged resolution was a breach of s. 35 (1) and 41 of the 1999 constitution and Articles (6) and 12 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People`s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Acts as it was done without a warrant and therefore unlawful and unconstitutional.
The went on to order nullifying and setting aside the resolution reached on the 25th of January,2022 by the Ebonyi State Security Council meeting and restrained the respondents from further arresting or threaten to arrest the applicant on the basis of the facts of the case or even cause him harassment or dehumanizing experiences and that they should publish an unreserved public apology to the applicant.
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