Court awards ₦4million compensation to a man who was detained and tortured after catching a policeman in bed with his wife

Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo has ordered Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP Celestine Umeh, the Nigeria Police Force and the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police to pay the sum of N4 million as compensation to a businessman, Clement Asuquo Etim.

Etim was arrested, detained and tortured for three days after he caught Umeh in the night in his matrimonial home at Aba Ukpo Estate in Uyo, according to SaharaReporters.

In a 46-page court document filed in May 2020, Etim stated that Umeh, who is now the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Itu Division in Akwa Ibom State, violated his fundamental right to private and family life guaranteed by Section 37 of the Nigerian Constitution when he intruded into his matrimonial home in his absence at Aba Ukpo Estate in Uyo to be with his wife, Mrs Laurentia Asuquo Etim.

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A Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, who represented Mr Etim filed the lawsuit with Suit No: HU/FHR.72/2020 at the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, and asked the court to enforce the fundamental rights of his client to dignity of the human person, personal liberty, private and family lives and freedom of movement.

In a judgement delivered on Monday, August 16, 2021, the presiding judge, Justice Charles Ikpe, found that the police violated the fundamental right of the Applicant to personal liberty by detaining him for three days without justification.

The judge also found that Mr Etim was tortured by the Police, which amounts to a violation of his right to dignity of the human person.

Also, the court found CSP Umeh liable of violation of the fundamental right of the Applicant to private and family life by intruding into the matrimonial home of Mr Etim without his consent.

The court restrained the police from arresting the Applicant except by the order of a court.

In his reaction to the judgment given in his client’s favour, the Applicant’s counsel, Effiong said the judgement is a reminder that the court remains the solace of the oppressed.

Effiong commended the judge for his industry and the lucidity expressed in the judgment.