Court orders FG to pay detained journalist, Jones Abiri, N10m damages

Court orders FG to pay detained journalist, Jones Abiri, N10m damages
September 13 18:41 2018

By Waheed Kolawole, Abuja

A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has ordered the federal government to pay N10 million in damages to journalist, Jones Abiri, who was detained for over two years without trial by the Department of State Services (DSS).

The court described the two years detention of Abiri as outright conviction.

Abiri was arrested in August 2016 and detained for two years till his lawyers, led by human rights activist, Femi Falana, filed a fundamental suit against the Federal government.

Following outcry by various human rights agencies and the media, Abiri was arraigned on militancy at a magistrate court in Abuja.

Speaking at a judgement on Abiri’s fundamental rights suit at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday، the judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, said the federal government had no right to detain Abiri after taking his statement in 2016.

“Having taken his statement, the applicant should have been arraigned,” Dimgba ruled.

The judge said the federal government’s submission that Abiri was detained in national security was baseless.

According to the judge, the federal government should have filled the suit against the defendant and asked the court to refuse him bail, so that the court will use its discretion in determining whether Abiri should be granted bail on not

The court therefore declared Abiri’s detention illegal and a violation of his fundamental human rights.