Hameed Ali Comptoller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Hamid Ali
Comptoller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, addressing the agency's personnel | PR Nigeria

A federal high court in Lagos on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 allowed oral evidence in a suit filed by a journalist, Otunba Olomofe, against the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, for infringing on his fundamental human rights.

The Lagos branch of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) had filed the suit on behalf of the Badagry-based journalist seeking the enforcement of his fundamental human rights to life, freedom of expression and the press.

The comptroller-general of customs, Muhammed Ndalati, Emmanuel Nkemdirim, and Ibrahim Turaki were joined as respondents in the suit.

Two adjournments away, the counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Jiti Ogunye, had informed the court of his application, seeking to introduce oral evidence to the suit.

Justice Abdulaziz Anka had then adjourned the ruling on the application, while he also allowed time for the defence counsel to regularize his processes before the court.

In a short ruling on Wednesday, Justice Anka held that the applicant could introduce oral evidence to proof his case.

The judge, however, declined the applicant’s motion to file further affidavit evidence in the suit.

Anka accordingly, fixed April 24, for the continuation of hearing.

The applicant had filed the suit following alleged severe assaults and beatings he suffered in the hands of Customs’ officers and some hoodlums allegedly hired by them.

The suit which was filed in January 2016, had been fixed for mention on Feb. 22, March 17, and June 16, 2016 but had suffered some setbacks.

On June 16, 2016 after the case was called, the counsel to respondents had informed the court that the applicant was absent, and had urged it to strike out the suit.

Consequently, Anka struck out the suit.

Meanwhile, on June 17, 2016, the counsel to the applicant, re-filed the suit and served processes including his application to re-list the suit on the respondents.

In the pending action, the applicant is claiming N500 million as damages against the NCS for the assault he suffered at Seme border post of the NCS on June 25, 2015.

Olomofe is also asking the court to declare that the respondents, in beating and causing him internal injuries, infringed on his right to life “as guaranteed by Section 33 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.”

He also asked the court to declare “that the assault done to him in the course of discharging his professional duties and obligations, constituted an infringement on his rights to freedom of expression and the press.’’

He sought the court to award him N500 million as damages for the infringement on his rights. (NAN)

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