Emeka Richmond Ngornadi, a businessman who has been detained at the underground cell of the Department of State Services (DSS) since April 2021 for allegedly making comments on social media in support of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has sued the Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi over violation of his fundamental human rights.
The businessman is asking the court to order the secret police to pay him N10 million for his detention, which he described as illegal and a breach of his fundamental rights.
SaharaReporters had on August 9, 2021, reported how Ngornadi was abducted by the DSS while travelling from Lagos to Anambra to deliver to his pregnant wife baby items and goods he had bought for her.
She had earlier called to inform him that her Estimated Delivery Date (EED) was close.
He later developed in detention a strange illness with rashes all over his body.
He was said to have earlier had typhoid fever and malaria.
He was allegedly tortured by DSS operatives in an attempt to force him to admit to being an IPOB member which affected one of his ears.
He was d said to have been denied access to doctors and drugs by the secret police, which made his condition deteriorate in the cell.
In a court document with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/994 C filed by his lawyer, Barrister Festus Ogun and
obtained by SaharaReporters on Wednesday in Abuja, Emeka is asking the court to order the DSS to pay him N10 million as general and aggravated damages for his detention and illegal violation of fundamental rights.
The document read, "A DECLARATION that the continuous arrest and detention of the Applicant by the 1st and 2nd Respondents without any probable cause is unjustified and a gross violation of the Applicant’s right to personal liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed by section 35(1) and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as well as Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
"A DECLARATION that the physical and mental torture and degradation of the Applicant by the respondents and continuous detention of the Applicant is cruel punishment prohibited under Section 34(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 LFN 2004."
Other reliefs sought by the applicant include "an injunction restraining the Respondents whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from further arresting and detaining the Applicant and constituting a threat or hindrance to the Applicant’s life, property and investments and business in any manner whatsoever."
"The Applicant has fundamental rights to freedom of movement, liberty and human dignity under sections 41, 35 and 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights respectively which are being violated by the Applicant’s arrest and continuous detention by the 1st and 2nd Respondents.
"The arrest and detention of the Applicant constitute a breach of his fundamental right to freedom of movement, liberty, and dignity of the human person under sections 34(1) and 35 (4) (b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
"The denial of the Applicant’s unfettered access to his legal practitioner is a gross violation of his fundamental right to freedom of movement and dignity of the human person guaranteed and protected under Sections 41 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution.
"The Applicant has not committed any criminal offence and neither has any allegation been made against him to warrant the arrest and continued unlawful detention by the Respondents," the grounds upon which reliefs were sought stated.