BY ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH
OWERRI — An Imo State High Court has awarded a N25 million damages against Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and others for gross violation of the fundamental rights of a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Emeka Ozoani.
The court, presided over by Justice Nonye Okoronkwo, ordered the construction giant to pay the money for violations of the lawyer’s right to liberty, dignity of human person and freedom of movement, inclusive of medical treatment.
Those ordered to pay the damages alongside the company jointly and severally are the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone 9 Umuahia, Mr. P.S Njoku (prosecutor) and Peter B. Ogunyanwo, DCP Zone 9, Umuahia
The judge held in his judgment: “I agree that in the circumstance of this case, the applicant is entitled to exemplary damage which I assess at N25 million against the respondents jointly and severally.
“As indicated above, the respondents shall jointly and severally pay the applicant the sum of N25 million for gross violation of the applicant’s fundamental right to personal liberty.”
Justice Okoronkwo also declared that the arrest and physical assault of the applicant inside the high court premises in Owerri on January 24, 2012, by armed police officers was “a gross violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights to personal liberty, not to be subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.”
Barrister Ozoani had filed his application pursuant to Order 11 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure, Rules 2009 on October 3, 2012, for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, asking for the sum of N50 billion as special, general and specific damages.