An Ebonyi State High Court sitting in Abaklaiki, Monday ordered the police in the state to pay compensation and damages of N2 million to the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), for illegally raiding the movement’s office in the state.
A member of MASSOB had last year dragged the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Command, the DPO of the Central Police Station (CPS) and DCO to the court for raiding and carting away items at the Abakaliki regional office of the group.
The case was brought before the court by a member of MASSOB and Ebonyi Central Regional Director of the movement, Mr. John Nwifuru who accused the Police of infringing on the fundamental rights to personal liberties and right to peaceful assembly and association of the movement.
The presiding Judge, Justice F.C Inya-Agha in her judgment said that the police infringed on the rights of the MASSOB.
Justice Inya-Agha said incessant threats of arrest, harassments, intimidation of MASSOB members and confiscation of the properties of the group was unlawful and a violation of the members fundamental rights as guaranteed by sections 34, 35 (1), 40 and 44 of the constitution.
The Judge also ordered police to release the items taken away from MASSOB office along No. 9 Hatchery road by the police on October 25, 2013. These include: 2, 700 identity cards worth N1, 000 each, ten plastic chairs, five handsets, flag pole and sign board, N170, 000 cash, five MASSOB uniforms, six pairs of boot and belt.
He directed the DPO of Central Police Station (CPS), Abakaliki to tender an unreserved public apology to be published in two national dailies.
The Court also ordered the Police command to pay a damage of N2 million for all the various acts of incessant threats of arrest, harassments, intimidations, illegal seizure as suffered by applicant.
The counsel to MASSOB, Barr Jerry Ezenyi while reacting to the judgment of the court said that justice has prevailed and commended the court for taking the bull by the horn by delivering the judgment in favour of MASSOB with clear evidence against the police
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