By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Detained blogger and human rights activist, Mr. Steven Kefas, on Thursday filed a N500 million suit against Kaduna state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, the Inspector General of Police, (IGP), Mohammed Adamu; and four others over alleged infringements of his fundamental human rights.
Kefas, who on Thursday, October 10, 2019 has spent 142 days in Kaduna Prison without bail over alleged inciting comments against El-Rufai and the Chairman of Kajuru Local Government Area, Cafra Caino, has approached the Federal High Court Kaduna through his Counsel, Barrister Gloria Ballason.
Kefas is insisting that his fundamental human rights have been breached by six respondents listed in the following order: (1) Cafra Caino, Chairman Kajuru LGA of Kaduna state; (2) Aisha Dikko, Special Adviser on Legal Affairs to Kaduna State Governor; (3) Governor of Kaduna State; (4) Attorney General of Kaduna State; (5) Kaduna State Commissioner of Police; and (6) Inspector General of Police.
The case filed as Suit: FHC/KD/62/19 dated October 10, 2019, the Applicant seeks the court to make 15 Declarations among which includes: “the arrest and detention of the Applicant by the 5th and 6th Respondents’ facility on trumped up charges is an extrajudicial arrest for which the Applicant is suffering physical and psychological torture and violates Article 9 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights and Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN).
“A declaration that the unlawful arrest and the dehumanizing manner the Applicant was conveyed by agents of the 5th and 6th Respondents from office to the office at the Police Command and introducing him as the ‘notorious wanted person that was picked from Port Harcourt’ was degrading and affected his proper feeling of esteem and inherent dignity and violates Section 34 of the 1999 CFRN Article 5 of the African Charter on Human Rights and Articles 9, 13 & 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 & 9 of the ICCPR.”
Ballason asked the court to grant an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the respondents quia timet by any executive powers, advice and/or any directive in any manner whatsoever and howsoever from violating the rights to liberty and movement of the applicant who is ready to stand trial and present his defence.
“An order for compensation in the sum of N50 million against the 1st Respondent who initiated the arbitrary arrest and visited the Applicant in detention in order to threatened him on long term incarceration and detention and as compensation for the violation of the Applicant’s rights of dignity and personal liberty as enunciated in section 43 and 35(b) of the CFRN for the loss of business earnings.
“An order for compensation and exemplary damages in the sum of N150 million against the 2nd Respondent for meddlesome interloping on an action that is not personal and for the habitual and serial use of personal and positional power to cause the infringement and violation of the rights to life, dignity, free expression, fair hearing and freedom of movement of the Applicant.
“An order for compensation in the sum of N200 million against the 3rd Respondent for using his powers to intimate the Applicant and the public from expressing dissent in a democratic setting and exercising his fundamental rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing, free expression and movement through 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Respondents.
“An order for damages in the sum of N100 million against the 5th and 6th Respondents for arbitrary imprisonment, violation of dignity and freedom of movement of the Applicant, among others.”
The case has been adjourned for October 25, to allow the lead counsel to the Respondents, Barrister Elijah Bakam of Kaduna State Ministry of Justice to prepare his defence.
After 142 days in Kaduna Prison, Justice Mairo Mohammed on whose order Mr. Kefas was detained, did not appear last Wednesday in court when the case came up. It was announced that she had taken ill and ordered that he be returned to prison until October 29, 2019, a date Mr Kefas would have spent 162 days in jail without bail.
A coalition of civil society groups, under the aegis of Citizens For Steven Kefas, led by the National Coordinator of the National Human Rights Writers Association, (HURIWA), Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, had in Abuja on Monday, October 7, 2019, addressed a press conference drawing global attention to the plight of the activist.
The group among others had called on the National Judicial Commission, (NJC), to probe Justice Mairo Mohammed over the detention of Mr Kefas, who has spent nearly five months in prison without bail; and also called on Nigerians to oppose the current judicial travesty in Kaduna in order to bring justice to citizens.