Court Rules Against Secret Police DSS, AGIP Over Illegal Detention Of Bayelsa Youth Activist, Awards N300Million In Damages

The Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Yenagoa has indicted the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NOAC) over the illegal arrest and detention of a youth activist, Mr Collins Opumie, for over two years.

 

The Presiding Judge, Justice Ebiyon Duke Charlie also awarded the claimant N300 million in damages.

 

Justice Ebiyon Duke Charlie, in his ruling on the suit numbered YHC/324/2022 on Monday declared that the claimant was forcefully imprisoned and should be awarded N300 million as compensation.

 

Speaking after the ruling, the counsel for the claimant, Ebipreye K.V. Sese Esq. Sese, said, “It’s a serious congratulation to the claimant, Comrade Opuene, that at the end of the day, the court saw merit in his case and gave a favourable judgement.

 

“The case entirely was two, false imprisonment and malicious persecution, and the court successfully upheld the issue of false imprisonment, and on the malicious persecution was disagreed on, but it’s still a win-win for the claimant.

 

“I’m believing strongly that justice is seen to have been served. I appreciate the judiciary as a matter of fact, the judiciary system in Nigeria is one that we can rely on in the dispensation of justice, and that we have achieved today.

 

“I’m well satisfied with the judgement because there must be an end to litigation. The court has come to its conclusion to uphold the claimant’s claim that he was forcefully imprisoned and is entitled to N300 million, it’s a good judgement.

 

“It is often said that the judiciary is the hope of the common man. This is one particular instance that it has been established that indeed the judiciary is the hope of the people.”

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The youth activist, Opuene, said he was satisfied with the judgement because his right was trampled upon, adding that he was denied medical attention and his rights were violated.

 

“I am happy even when all our expectations were not met, I thank all those who stood by me, the traditional rulers and my lawyer for standing by the truth,” he said.

 

Opuene, in a statement of claims, had accused the DSS in Yenagoa of allegedly abducting him at the instance of the NAOC.

 

He said he was physically and mentally tortured, tied and thrown inside the boot of a vehicle and taken to Abuja like a common criminal without the knowledge of his family or access to medical care.

 

The Bayelsa Youth Activists, Comrade Collins Trueman Opumie, filed a suit against his illegal arrest and detention with demands for the sum of N9 billion in damages.

 

He also prayed the court to declare that his arrest, torture and subsequent detention without proper food and medical attention and access to family members for two years for false Imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

 

In his eight prayers before the court, Opumie sought the order of the court against the defendants jointly and severally “for damages suffered as a result of the false imprisonment for two (2) years under the custody of the DSS (2nd set of defendants) in their prison facilities without bail or arraignment in a court of law at the instance of the Agip (1st set of defendants) false and malicious complaints/reports against him”

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“An injunction restraining the 2nd and 3rd set of defendants from further harassing or attempts to arrest and detain the claimant at the instance of the 1st set of defendants.”

 

In January, SaharaReporters reported that a Bayelsa State High Court had warned the DSS against using delay tactics to frustrate the illegal detention suit filed by Opumie.

Opumie sued NAOC, DSS and the Nigeria Police Force in March 2023 over his illegal arrest and detention in an underground detention facility in Abuja for 730 days.

 

Opumie, in the suit numbered YHC/324/2022, sought the sum of N9 billion in damages.

 

He also pleaded with the court to declare that his arrest, torture and subsequent detention without proper food and medical attention and access to family members for two years are a gross violation of his fundamental rights to dignity as a person.

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