By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A Federal High Coury sitting in Kaduna on Wednesday awarded the sum of N10 million as damages in favour of Mohammed Gashash, son of a First Republic Minister, for violation of rights by the Nigeria Army, (NA) and State Security Service, (SSS).
Alhaji Gashash who is the President, National Tranquility Movement and a Kaduna based business man had dragged the NA and the SSS to Court for unlawful arrest and detention.
Gashash told the Federal High Court in Kaduna that he was arrested in the dead of the night, his house searched and detained for an extensive period of weeks by the NA and SSS without any arrest or search warrant.
When the case came up for ruling on Wednesday, the Presiding Judge, Justice ZB Abubakar, held that the case of violation of the rights of the Appellant to personal liberty as well as his privacy was established against the Respondent.
The court therefore stated that the Respondent be held responsible for violating the rights of the Applicant and ruled that the sum of N10m be paid to the Applicant as damages for violation of his rights by the NA and co.
In an interview shortly after the ruling, Counsel to the Appellant, Barrister Umar Magaji Na Rimi told Journalists that “The court had, in its last sitting, fixed Wednesday for ruling over the matter.”
“And by the ruling of the court, its has established the violation of the Applicant’s rights to personal liberty as well as, his privacy.
“The court said that the Respondents should be held responsible for violating the fundamental rights of the Applicant and its went further to award N10m as damages against the Respondents jointly.”
On the next line of action, the Counsel said, “It’s for the parties to take steps in seeing what was awarded, unless if the Respondents are going to apply against the ruling of the court”, adding that “we are very satisfied with the ruling and the court for doing justice.”
Also speaking to newsmen at the court premises with excitement, the victim, Gashash said, ”It was the triumph of truth. As a matter of fact, because many people are being victimized for no just course, but in most cases, people become afraid even to raise their voices by coming to court and God gave us this victory, it is a victory for the people.
“It is another indication that whoever is being victimized in this manner or his personal rights being trampled in same way, at least, one would have the courage to come forward and seek for justice”, he said.
According to Gashash, similar incidences of unwarranted, wrongful arrest and detention have happened to many people, some of whom did not survived it.
“Its good that it happen. I was arrested on no grounds at all, in the dead of the night without any arrest warrant. My house was search without search warrant,” he said.