The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declared the continued detention of Mr. Christopher Adole, a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, in the custody of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, unit of the police without charge since July 2018, as illegal.
Delivering judgment in the fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed on behalf of the corps member, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, on Monday, September 24, 2018, directed the IG to immediately arraign the corp member before any court of competent jurisdiction if at all they had any allegation whatsoever against him.
The judge also ordered the police to pay a total sum of N350,000 to the applicant with the sum of N300,000 representing a compensation and N50,000 representing the plaintiff’s cost of prosecuting the suit.
Adole, a youth corps member serving at the Bureau of Public Procurement in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was said to have been arrested by men from the IG’s Monitoring Unit in the Force Headquarters and detained at the SARS unit of the police in Abuja since July 4, 2018.
But the judge ruled on Monday that the continued detention of the plaintiff beyond 48 hours without arraigning him before any court of competent jurisdiction for any offence was a violation of the detainee’s rights.
He noted that although the police had the right to arrest “upon reasonable suspicion of commission of a crime, and also to charge the person to a court within a reasonable time of 48 hours or less”, they could “only detain beyond this point only by an order of court.”
He noted that the police despite being served with the court’s hearing notices on three occasions to present their own side of the case failed to file any defence or send any lawyer to court.
“Based on the facts before me, there is no sufficient justification on the continued detention of the applicant without submitting him to the judicial process to determine his fate,” the judge ruled.
According to Adole’s lawyer, Mr. N. A Ojile, the corps member was arrested for an undisclosed offence at his place of primary assignment on July 4, 2018, by policemen from the Inspector General of Police Monitoring Unit in Force Headquarters, Abuja.