Court fines police N2m for detaining pastor, wife for over 24 hours

A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the police to pay N2 million to a couple for detaining them for eight days.

Justice Sule Hassan explained that the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) Ikoyi, Lagos, breached the fundamental rights of Reverend Godwin Izuchukwu and his wife, Reverend Prayer Godwin.

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The respondents in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/699/19, are: Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Police Commissioner in-charge of PSFU, Jane Nzekwe and Kate Nwuba.

The Godwins sued the respondents for detaining them beyond the constitutionally stipulated period.

They explained to the judge in their motion on notice filed through their lawyer, Prince Chinewubeze, that they were unlawfully detained from April 24, till May 1, 2019 by the SFU, at the instance of Nzekwe and Nwuba, without a court order.

Mrs Godwin, the court heard was allegedly beaten and tortured by the SFU. The applicants sought N100million as damages against the respondents jointly and severally.

The third and fourth respondents, Jane and Kate, through their counsel, prayed the court to dismiss the application.

The IGP and SFU  did not file any defence.

Justice Hassan stated: “The first and second Respondents did hot file a counter affidavit. This averment was not denied by the first and second respondents. By detaining the Applicant for over 24 hours without charging him to court, the first and second Respondents, I hold, infringed the provision of the constitution. The sum of N2 million is awarded as damages against the first and second Respondents (Police).

The Applicants must submit themselves to the first and second respondents for conclusion of investigation. I hereby order applicants to report to first and second Respondents for conclusion of investigation.”

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