A Warri-based lawyer, Choice Umode, has dragged the Nigerian Army together with the Commanding Officer of the 90 Amphibious Battalion, Major Ajongbo, to a Delta State High Court, Effurun in Uvwie Local Government Area of the state.
The lawyer is demanding N20m each for the three persons who were allegedly arrested and detained unlawfully for over three weeks by military men attached to the Nigerian Army 90 Battalion in Koko, Warri North LGA.
In a motion on Notice with Suit No: EHC/FHR/92/2022 before the court, the lawyer noted that “the N20m is for exemplary and general damages suffered psychologically, physically and emotionally by the victims” for their unlawful detention by the Nigerian Army since November 9, 2022.
The lawyer listed the three persons allegedly arrested and detained unlawfully by the Army as Abraham Asagba, brother to a businessman; Goodluck Ikoyo, Chairman of Ikweawu Community, Amu-Okpe in Sapele LGA and one Mr. Igho Meeting.
The lawyer claimed the trio was arrested and had been in military detention for the past three weeks till date without the order of any court of competent jurisdiction.
While seeking redress against the alleged infringement of the fundamental rights of his clients, the lawyer is also seeking from the court a declaration that the arrest and detention of the applicants since November 9, 2022, by military officers of the first respondent under the control and supervision of the second respondent “is unconstitutional and illegal.”
Another relief being sought is a declaration that “the detention of the applicants in the military cell for over 22 days is unconstitutional and illegal.”
PUNCH Metro gathered that the lawyer had earlier petitioned the Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Ari Muhammed Ali, and the General Officer, Commanding, 6 Division of Nigerian Army in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, respectively, over the matter, before eventually approaching the Delta High Court for adjudication.
The lawyer alleged that the applicants had been unilaterally kept in the custody of the 63 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Asaba, Delta State, since November 9, 2022.
In the petition, the legal practitioner claimed that the trio of Mr. Abraham Asagba, Mr. Goodluck Ikoyo and one Mr. Igho Meeting, a worker in a dredging site owned by a businessman, were allegedly arrested by the military officers and had been in detention for the past three weeks till date without the order of any court of competent jurisdiction.
While noting that the businessman does dredging of sand at Ikweawu Community, Amu-Okpe, in Sapele LGA, the lawyer claimed that one Stephen, a security guard in his dredging site called him on phone to inform him that some armed men came to the dredging site to rob and that he should rush down to the site immediately.
Consequently, the businessman was said to have directed his elder brother, Abraham Asagba, Goodluck Ikoyo and Igho Meeting to go to the dredging site on the information received from Stephen.
But while the trio was on their way to the dredging site following the prompting of the businessman, they were reportedly accosted by some military officers attached to the 90 Battalion of the Nigerian Army who arrested and detained them under the custody of the 63 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Asaba, Delta.
The lawyer maintained that “frantic efforts made by the businessman and family members to, at least, have access to the arrested persons had proven abortive.”
When contacted for comments on the matter, the Police Public Relations Officer for Delta State Command, DSP Bright Edafe, said he was not aware of such a petition.
Also, efforts to reach the Commanding Officer of the 6 Division, Port-Harcourt in Rivers State were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report.