Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday granted N10 million in damages to controversial Nigerian senator, Dino Melaye, over a lawsuit filed by the senator against the Inspector General of Police. Mr. Melaye had filed the lawsuit in 2014 after the police stopped him from protesting against former Aviation minister, Stella Oduah, who had just been exposed by SaharaReporters for a scam in which she authorized the purchase of two overpriced bulletproof BMW cars for her personal use.
Police had manhandled and briefly detained Mr. Melaye as he led a group of protesters against the former minister, who is now a senator representing Anambra State. The police had justified their actions on the grounds that Mr. Melaye and fellow protesters had not obtained permission to stage their protest.
Justice Kolawole ruled that the police had violated Mr. Melaye’s rights, and awarded N10 million in damages to the senator.
However, in a parting shot, the judge mocked Mr. Melaye as a “self-styled” anti-corruption activist. He said he awarded the cost to the plaintiff because Nigerians have a right to peaceful protest, but also noted that Mr. Melaye has now become a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The usually loquacious Melaye made little noise about his court victory apparently because he and Ms. Oduah, the target of his aborted demonstration, are now both senators and part of a cabal at the Senate that backs Senate President Bukola Saraki who is facing trials for falsification of his asset declaration as well as money laundering.