By Nathan Nwakamma
A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, on Friday, ordered the Joint Task Force in Niger Delta, to pay N1 million as damages to a nursing mother, Mrs Yeibra Esingha, for illegal detention.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the court, presided over by Justice (Mrs) A. O. Awogboro, ruled in suit number FHC/YNG/CS/1/2019 in favour of Esingha, who has been in custody over suspected involvement in oil theft.
Esingha in the suit filed by her counsel Mr Victor Gbafe, dragged the Commander of the JTF, Rear Admiral Apochi. Sulieman, to court, for breach of her fundamental rights and its enforcement.
She had prayed the court to declare her arrest and detention as illegal and an order for her immediate release from JTF’s detention, and a restraining order against her arrest and detention.
The applicant was reportedly arrested on Dec. 31, 2018 by JTF operatives in Mbiama town, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers, as a bait to compel her husband’s friend to turn himself in, for interrogation.
In her judgment, Awogboro, declared that the arrest and detention of the nursing mother was “wrongful, illegal and a breach of her fundamental human rights to dignity of the human person, liberty and right to privacy and family life.”
The judge awarded the sum of N1 million as damages for breach of human rights.
The judge held that “once violation of rights is proven, the applicant is entitled to award of damages, in pursuant to Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.
Justice Awogboro, also ordered the immediate release forthwith the applicant in detention, and also a restraining order to the JTF from “inviting, arresting or torturing the applicant.
The judge further ordered the JTF to tender a public apology to the applicant.