For unlawful arrest and detention of over 17 operatives of the National Task Force on Illegal Importation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria, a public-private-partnership organisation, the Director of the organisation, Dr. Osita Okereke has threatened to sue the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) over their unlawful detention in Taraba state.
Okereke, while briefing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, said that on the 9th of June, 2014, he got information that some people were coming into the country with 147 AK 47 rifles through Ibi, a boundary town between Nigeria and Cameroun.
According to him, a man involved in the shipment of the arms was arrested by his men, working hand-in-hand with other security personnels and instead of prosecuting him to Abuja, “I wrote a covering letter to the Governor of Taraba state, the Commissioner of Police the State Service (SSS) and the Area Commander of the Nigeria Army to collaborate and intercept the arms as well as to prosecute the man arrested in respect with the shipment of the arms”.
He told newsmen that the Police in Taraba arrested his team of 17 operatives headed by Shehu Aljan and has detained them since last week.
Okereke, who is the Director of the Task Force, said he will sue the Police for unlawful detention and the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of his operatives held illegally in the custody of the Police.
It would be recalled that a Federal High Court in Abuja had, earlier ordered the Inspector-General of Police to pay Mr Osita Okereke N1million as damages for unlawful detention.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in the judgment held that Okereke’s arrest and detention violated Section 35 (1) (C) of the 1999 Constitution.
“The Inspector-General of Police failed to produce any fact about an informant on the security threat posed by the applicant and provided no evidence of the directive by the National Security Adviser (NSA) to arrest him”, Mohammed said.
The judge said this contravened section 115 of the Evidence Act, 2011.
It could be recalled that Okereke, who was arrested by the police in Abuja on August 15, 2013, allegedly on the orders of the NSA, was later arraigned on August 27 before an Abuja Magistrates Court on a one-count charge of posing security threat to the country.
His lawyer, Mr. Kanayo Okafor, had in an application for the enforcement of his client’s fundamental rights, urged the court to declare his detention unlawful and to pay damages for the ordeal he experienced in the hands of the SSS.