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South Africa-Based Activist Sues Police Chief Egbetokun and Emeka Offor, Demands N50m For ‘Unlawful Detention’

He was said to have been arrested and detained by Police since January 3 for allegedly criticising Offor in a media publication.

A South Africa based social critic and human rights activist, Bonny Okonkwo, has dragged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun and Oil merchant, Emeka Offor and five others to a Federal High Court in Awka over alleged unlawful arrest and detention.

He therefore demanded N50 million fine from the police as compensation for his unlawful detention.

He was said to have been arrested in his Oraifite Community in Anambra State and clamped into detention by Police since January 3, 2024 for allegedly criticizing Emeka Offor in a media publication.

According to an originating motion on notice served on the IGP at the Force Headquarters and obtained by Arise News on Saturday in Abuja, the activist asked the court to grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining Police and its agents from further arresting, detaining or infringing on his personal liberty.

Other defendants in the suit are Sir Emeka Offor, Area Commander, Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in Zone 13 and Commissioner of Police in charge of Cyber Crimes Bureau.

Okonkwo in the suit marked FHC/AWK/CS/02/2024, asked the court to order his immediate release from police custody or in the alternative, cause Police to produce him in court for any committed offence.

The applicant in the Fundamental Human Rights enforcement suit filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Sebastine Ifeanyi Okonkwo, prayed the Court to impose N50 million fine on the police to be paid to him as compensation for his unlawful detention.

Besides, the applicant sought a declaration by the court that his arrest and detention by the Area Commander, Commissioner of Police in Anambra State and the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Zone 13 since January 13 without bail was illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and unjustifiable.

He also asked the court to declare that the threats to further detain him in Abuja violated his right to freedom of movement and personal liberty as guaranteed by Section 35 of the 1999 constitution.

The plaintiff in his statement of claims in support of the motion on notice,  asserted that he is a human rights activist and social crusader and an indigene of Oraifite in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.

He said, “It was on the 4th day of January 2024, that Comrade Bonny Okonkwo who returned home to celebrate the Christmas holiday with his family, was ambushed at gun point by Police personnel from Oraifite Area Command Headquarters. 

“Comrade Bonny was immediately whisked away to Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Awka and was confronted with a petition written against him by Emeka Offor through his solicitors Emeka Ajaegbo & Co and questioned on a comment allegedly attributed to him,.

“Since the 4th day of January 2024, Comrade Bonny has been held illegally in the custody of the Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Awka.

“Though the content of the said online publication is presently a subject matter of litigation, Comrade Bonny is till today being held by police over a matter pending in court.

“Following the obvious gross violation of Bonny’s fundamental rights extantly guaranteed under the constitution, his Solicitor S.I. Okonkwo, esq. commenced  this Fundamental Rights Action before the Federal High Court Awka to enforce the immediate release of comrade Bonny Okonkwo. 

“Today, being the 20th day of January 2024, marks the 16 days Bonny has been held in the custody of the Police without being granted bail or even charged to court if he has committed any offence known to law. 

Meanwhile, hearing in the matter has been fixed for January 30.

Meanwhile, his counsel, Sabastine Ifeanyi Okonkwo, has appealed to the Vice President, Kashim Shetima and IGP, Kayode Egbetokun to use their respective offices to order immediate release of the detainee.

“While we await the hearing date, we wish to use this medium to seek for the immediate intervention of the Inspector General of Police and the office of the Vice President to immediately order that Bonny Okonkwo who has been held in confinement, in gross violation of his constitutional guaranteed rights, be released immediately or be charged to court if he has committed any offence known to law”, he said.

Friday Olokor, Abuja

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