A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Department of State Service, DSS, to pay N5 million to Maxwell Opara, one of the lawyers defending the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
Justice Zainab Abubakar also directed the security agency to tender a written apology to Opara and also publish same in a national daily.
Opara had filed a fundamental right enforcement suit to protest the alleged degrading treatment he was subjected to when he paid a visit to the IPOB leader, Kanu, at the DSS detention facility in Abuja.
Opara maintained that the action the DSS took against him, amounted to a gross violation of his right to dignity of the human person as guaranteed under Sections 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), as well as Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN.
Opara prayed the court for; “A declaration that the respondents, whilst in the execution of their duties must respect the fundamental rights of citizens and accordingly abide by the provisions of Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the provisions of the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.
Opara prayed the court to award him N50m as compensation for the infringement of his fundamental rights.
However, the DSS, in a counter-affidavit, told the court that depositions in Opara’s affidavit were untrue.
It told the court that it simply conducted routine security checks on the day Opara visited Kanu.
In her judgement on Monday, Justice Abubakar granted all the reliefs the applicant sought in the suit but reduced the damages from N50m to N5m.