CASE TITLE: NSCDC & ORS v. OLOBA (2023) LPELR-60883(CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: 8TH AUGUST, 2023
PRACTICE AREA: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
LEAD JUDGMENT: JAMILU YAMMAMA TUKUR, J.C.A.
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:
This appeal borders on Enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
This is an appeal against the judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/261/2018 delivered on 26th September 2019 against the Appellants.
The facts of the matter which culminated in this appeal emanated from a fundamental rights action instituted by the Respondent vide Originating Summons dated 23rd August 2018 and filed on 24th August 2018, via which he sought the following:
1. An order of this Honourable Court declaring the arrest and treatment of the Applicant by the 1st-4th Respondents as unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, and a breach of his fundamental human rights to personal liberty and dignity of his person as provided for under Sections 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) 2011 as well as Articles V and VI of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Articles III and IV of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
2. An order of this Honourable Court compelling the Respondents to pay to the Applicant individually or collectively the sum of N400,000,000.00 (Four Hundred Million Naira) only as compensatory damages and public apology for the breach of his fundamental human right to personal liberty and his dignity as a person.
3. And for such further order(s) as this Honourable Court will deem fit to make in this circumstance.
The Originating Summons was supported by a 22-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the Respondent and other requisite processes, including exhibits in support of his position. In response to the Originating Summons, the Appellants filed a counter-affidavit and other requisite documents. The Originating Summons was heard and, in a judgment, delivered on September 26, 2019, the learned trial Judge found that the Applicant established by credible evidence, the violation of his fundamental rights by the Respondents and awarded the sum of N4,000,000.00 (Four Million Naira) as compensatory damages against the Appellants and public apology in two national dailies for the breach of the Respondent’s fundamental right to personal liberty and his dignity as a person. The Court also awarded costs of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) against the Appellants.
Dissatisfied with the above decision of the lower Court, the Appellant appealed.
ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION:
The appeal was determined on the following issues:
“1. Whether the judgment of the trial Court is against the weight of evidence adduced or whether the Respondents/Applicant is entitled to reliefs granted by the lower Court on the strength and totality of evidence adduced before the lower Court.
2. Whether the Appellants/Respondents has any power or lawful authority to invite, question, investigate, seal, arrest, and detain on reasonable suspicion that the Respondents/Applicants have committed a criminal offence or will commit a criminal offence by wearing and putting on uniform Insignias belonging to the Nigerian Army.”
On the whole, the appeal was dismissed.
- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW- ENFORCEMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT(S): Nature of fundamental rights enforcement proceedings
- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW- RIGHT TO DIGNITY OF PERSON: Constitutional right to dignity of person
- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW- RIGHT TO PERSONAL LIBERTY: Position of the law on the right to personal liberty of a citizen; whether the right to personal liberty is absolute
- CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- ARREST: Whether power of law enforcement agencies to arrest is subject to fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution
- EVIDENCE- EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE: Duty of a trial Court to evaluate evidence and how same is discharged