Ex-AIG Mbu, others ordered to pay N50m damages

A High court sitting in Calabar, has ordered a former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Joseph Mbu and four other respondents, to pay fifty million naira (N50m) damages to the Special Adviser to the Cross River State governor on Cocoa Development and Control, Dr Oscar Ofuka.

This follows a judgement delivered in Suit No: HC/17/2022, presided by Justice Emmanuel Ayade.

Dr Ofuka had dragged the inspector general of police, IG Usman Baba, The Nigeria Police Force, AIG Of Police Force, Criminal Investigation Department, OY Oladimeji (Commissioner for Police Anti Fraud), as well as AIG Joseph Mbu Rtd. to the Cross River State High court for infringement on his fundamental right.

Ofuka stated that he was detained one day in Calabar, before being taken to Akwa Ibom state to spend one night in the police cell.

Thereafter, he was flown to Alagbon Close, Ikoyi, Lagos, where he was kept in a torture room for six days, for failing to render 70% of money accrued to government coffers as royalty from Cross River State government cocoa estate to AIG Joseph Mbu.

In a two hours judgement read by the presiding Judge, Justice Emanuel Ayade, stated that Retired AIG Joseph Mbu failed to tender any counter statement or evidence against allegations filed in court brought before the court against the respondents.

He held that, “The respondents have admitted all the averments on the applicant’s affidavit, having not challenged any of them.

“It is trite law that while averments in an affidavit are not contradicted, as it is in this case, it is deemed admitted we act on it accordingly”, he said.

Faulting the action of the police, the judge said, “The police is the last hope of the common man in the discharge of their duties.

“They must do so discreetly, carefully evaluate and scrutinise every petition presented before them and ensure their action falls within the confines of the Police Act 2004.

“It is illegal, wrongful and unlawful for Mbu Joseph (5th respondent), to deploy his influence as a retired AIG to cause officers of the police to harass, intimidate, assault and scandalise the Applicant (Oscar Ofuka).

“The fundamental human rights enforcement suit succeeds and the respondents are ordered to pay the Applicant fifty million naira”, the judge said.

Reacting, Attorney General AG of Cross River State, Mr Tanko Ashang, said ”it’s a straightforward matter as you heard in court.

“Instead of the AIG inviting the applicant to Calabar, where there are competent police officers, they kept dragging him to Lagos, and of course you heard the humiliating expression.

“When he dragged him through handcuffs, with pictures displayed on social media.

“And so we had enough of and so we have to come to court. The court has very eloquently given judgement condemning the act and upholding the right to application.

“I think the court has done the right thing, we must constantly protect the rights of our citizens. These rights are not provided for fun”, the attorney general said.

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