Justice Ntong Ntong of Akwa Ibom State in Ikot Ekpene has awarded N1.9m aggravated damages against the Nigeria Police Force for unlawful arrest and illegal detention of 10 farmers in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
In a 30-minute judgement, Justice Ntong ruled that by their conduct, the Police have breached the fundamental human rights of liberty and freedom of movement of the farmers.
He said though the first respondent in the matter, Uyo Udo Idiong has a right to complain to the security agents that a crime has been committed in his area, it is the duty of the Police to investigate the matter and not to arrest the alleged suspects.
The Police need not act on false information. Now, their overzealousness or “business as usual has landed them in big and aggravated trouble. By their conduct of harassing, molesting and intimidating applicants, I hold that the Police have infringed and encroached upon the fundamental human rights of the applicants. The Nigeria Police ordinarily owe the general public reciprocal respect while carrying out their functions.” Justice Ntong ruled.
The Judge said the Police will pay the farmers N1.9m as “no one in this country is allowed by law to jettison the rule of law or commit an infraction of the law of the land. I so hold. This is the judgement of this Honourable Court.”