A Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday fined the State Security Services, SSS some millions for illegally arresting and detaining a member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
The Department State Security Services (DSS), was on Wednesday, fined N5million by the Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti Division, for illegally arresting and detaining a member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Afolabi Akanni, who represents Efon Constituency 1.
It can be recalled that Akanni was whisked away on March 4 by DSS operatives who invaded the House of Assembly complex for alleged breach of security regulations. He was eventually released on March 22.
Akanni who was not in court on Wednesday, was represented by his counsel, Obafemi Adewale, who told the judge, Taiwo Taiwo, that his client could not be physically present because he was still receiving ‘post-traumatic’ treatment in a hospital outside the state.
While delivering his judgment, the judge, noted that the Respondent, DSS, had all along failed to either deny or defend the position, facts and allegations of the applicant, adding that in the eyes of the law, ‘there is no basis for the court to believe that all that the applicant had alleged against the DSS were not true.’
According to him, Akanni’s fundamental rights as a citizen of Nigeria, as specified by the principles of the Rule of Law and the African Charter on the Rights of individuals, had been violated by the DSS in illegally arresting and continually detaining him for 18 days.
The court also granted three out of the four reliefs sought by the applicant’s counsel, which are, “whether the applicant’s unlawful arrest and detention is justified, whether the said intimidation, torture and continued detention is not a violation of his fundamental human rights and a violation of the Rule of Law, and whether the applicant’s is not entitled to damages.”
After the court session, Adewale, described the judgment as a courageous demonstration of the willingness and readiness of the judiciary to protect the sanctity of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of the citizens of this country.
“This is not about Afolabi Akanni, it is not about the Ekiti State House of Assembly, and it is not about Governor Fayose. It is about the ordinary man on the streets who has this right but who is now facing an apparent trend all over the federation of a gradual return to the days of impunity when security agencies trudge relentlessly on the rights of the citizens of this country under various guises.
“The people working in security have their limits as specified by the laws that created them but most of them operate as if they are above the law. What the court has done today is to again re-emphasize that we have a constitution in Nigeria which is supreme to every other organs of government and which guides every of our conduct including the President of the country.
“It is not even about the N5 million awarded for damages and the court has stated that when you do what the DSS has done to Akanni, the fine must be paid. Within the parameters of the law, we will ensure that the money is paid by the Respondent,” he said.