An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan,yesterday ordered the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Department of State Services to pay the sum of N20billion to Chief Sunday Adeyemo also known as Igboho as damages for the invasion of his residence.
Justice Ladiran Akintola delivering his ruling, condemned the manner in which Igboho’s residence was invaded stating that since there was no war, the method of invasion was crude and unprofessional.
He added that since the DSS had no search warrant, it was hard to believe that the arms and ammunition that were said to have been recovered were truly from Igboho’s house adding that there was no prove that Igboho exchanged fire with the DSS.
Akintola stated that the manner of invasion and shooting was not only traumatic to Igboho but also to the people living in his house and the entire street. He then ordered that Igboho be paid N20billion for aggravated and exceptional damages.
“The reckless and indiscriminate shooting undertaken by the second and third respondents and their agents, which resulted in the death of two persons of the applicant, was in itself, a threat to the life of the applicant. Nobody shoots guns in order to entertain people. Such a conduct has a serious potential of killing the victim, and at best constitutes a serious threat to the life of the people.
“It is difficult to believe that the cache of arms and ammunition allegedly recovered from the residence of the applicant really came to bear.
“In the absence of any evidence that Nigeria was in a state of war, the style and procedure adopted by the second and third respondents and their agents in this case, is highly condemnable, repressible, crude and most unprofessional.
“With the benefit of the hindsight, given the number of guns, arms allegedly recovered from the premises of the applicant on the fateful night, relative to the harm, damage and deaths, plus trauma inflicted on, not only the applicant, his households, guests, and neighbourhood, it is very doubtful if it worth the exercise at all.
“It was not only the applicant that would have been traumatized by the overzealous and recklessness of the second and third respondents and their agents. The entire neighbourhood of the applicant’s residence was thrown into serious squabbles and troubles.
“The style adopted by the second and third respondents in the case should be condemned in strongest terms, especially even the fact that they are maintained by the Nigerian taxpayers. And yet, they did not hesitate to unleash such mayhem on a Nigerian citizen, who has not been pronounced guilty of any crime by any court of the land.
“This is one case that one would have wished that individual identities of the agents of the second and third respondents, who undertook this most bizzare, horrendous operation was disclosed,” he said.
Akintola also stated that Igboho and his group had a right to self-determination and were free to hold their rallies as long as it is peaceful stressing that self-determination is one of the fundamental human rights of the citizens that cannot be subjugated.
Counsel to Malami, Abubakar Abdullahi had applied to the court to strike out the case for lack of jurisdiction adding that the court should set aside the interim order of injuction stopping it from arresting Igboho.
He stressed that an action of a federal agency can not be reviewed by a state court.
Delivering the judgement, citing several judgements by the Supreme Court and Appeal courts in respect of the jurisdiction of the state high court on such case, Justice Akintola struck out the application stating that the court could hear the case since the incidence happened in the state where the court resides adding that it doesn’t matter if it’s a federal or state agency.
He also upheld his earlier ruling restraining the DSS from arresting Igboho adding that the DSS should not harass or arrest Sunday Igboho or invade his residence. He said that Igboho has right to his free movement as contained in Section 35.1 (a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.”
Akintola further granted an order restraining the respondents, their agents, privies or associates in other security forces or anybody acting on their behalf or instructions from blocking the accounts of the Igboho in any bank and directed them to lift the embargo where they had done so.
Counsel to Igboho, Chief Yomi Aliu(SAN) asked the court to grant him N10million for cost of court processes. Justice Akintola however granted him N2million.
Credit: Vanguard News Nigeria