The Department of State Services(DSS) has been asked to pay the sum of N20 billion to embattled Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho.
Delivering judgement in a N500 billion fundamental human right suit filed by Igboho against the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), DSS and the Director of DSS in Oyo State, who were the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively, Justice Ladiran Akintola, who granted all the reliefs sought by Igboho, held that the applicant led credible and unchallenged evidence against the respondents.
Igboho had through his lawyers led by Chief Yomi Alliyu (SAN) and Mr Dipo Olasope (SAN), sought the orders of the court declaring the invasion of his Ibadan residence by DSS operatives on July 1, as a violation of his fundamental human right, damage to his property as a violation of his fundamental right to peacefully own property and wealth as well.
The N500 billion was described as “exemplary and/or aggravated damages for breaching the applicant’s fundamental rights in the course of illegal and/or malicious invasion of his residence situate, lying and being at Igboho Villa. No.1, Dalag Street, Off Soka Bus Stop, Soka Area, Off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan.”
Igboho also asked the court for a declaration that it was “oppressive, malicious, arbitrary and grossly unconstitutional for the 2nd & 3rd respondents to invade the residence of the applicant situate, lying and being at Igboho Villa, 1, Dalag Street, Off Soka Bus Stop, Soka Area, Off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan without announcing who they were and ask the applicant to open his gate but rather shot their way through killing two people including an elderly Imam doing Tahjud (night vigil), shooting at cars thereby destroying them and not sparing animals like cats and dogs in total violation of the intendments of the Fundamental Human Rights’ provision in CFRN, 1999 and African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement), Act, LFN 2010, protecting the-dignity of human person, sanctity of human life and privacy c citizens and their homes.”
He also urged the court to declare that “the respondents’ resolve in preventing the applicant from propagating his belief in association with other like minds in creating a Yoruba Nation and/or Oduduwa Republic for his Indigenous Yoruba people and hunting him with gun with a view to arresting him dead or alive when he has not called for war in achieving same is against his fundamental rights to freedom of thought, conscience and association since campaign for self-determination is recognized by Nigerian Law and international treaties of organisations to which Nigeria belongs.”
In his judgement, the judge held that he found merit in Igboho’s case and struck out the notices of preliminary objection filed by the counsels to Malami and DSS, Abdullahi Abubakar and T.A. Nurudeen respectively.
“The respondents did not deny the invasion of the applicant’s residence, rather they justified the invasion on mere allegation of suspicion. Suspicion cannot take the place of law, no matter how strong it is.
“The ugly show of crude fire power by the respondents or their agents, leaving deaths, carnage and destruction behind should be condemned,” the judge held.
Justice Akintola also held that the invasion of Igboho’s residence in the middle of the night without a warrant violated his fundamental human rights to property, life and family under section 35 (i) (a-c) of the 1999 constitution.
He said: “In the absence of any evidence that Nigeria is in a state of war, the action and overzealous conduct of the agents of the 2nd and 3rd respondents should be condemned in strongest possible terms.
“If the identities of the agents of the 2nd and 3rd respondents were known, they should have been made liable for their action.”
He further said that the 2nd and 3rd respondents were silent on how the arms and ammunitions allegedly paraded in Abuja were allegedly recovered from Igboho’s residence.
“It is difficult to believe that the arms and ammunitions were recovered from his residence because there is no evidence to that effect,” the judge said.
The judge said Igboho has a right to self-determination and to association with indigeneous people and also awarded N2 million as cost against the respondents.
According to Justice Akintola,the judgement would serve as a lesson to government agencies who are fond of infringing on the fundamental human rights of citizens.
Reacting, Igboho’s lead counsel, Alliyu, said the victory for democracy and the rule of law.
He said: “We now see that we have to go back to the motto of NBA, and that is exactly what happened today, which means, where there is a damage, there is a remedy. We can see the language used by my learned and lord, Justice Ladiran Akintola, and you heard what I said in court that today’s case is history and lawyers yet unborn will refer to it as you are referring to previous cases.”