The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday ordered the Department of State Services, (DSS) to pay N5 million to one Sanusi Shuaib, an Abuja-based commercial driver, for wrongful arrest and detention.
Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon gave the order while delivering judgment in a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Shuaib challenging his detention without trial since his arrest in 2023.
The judge also ordered the DSS to release Shuaib immediately having wrongfully detained him without trial since Jan. 16, 2023.
Justice Olajuwon held that the DSS flagrantly flouted the 1999 Constitution which prohibits detention of any Nigerian beyond a maximum period of 48 hours without an order of court.
She noted that on March 29, 2023, the DSS got an order of the Federal High Court to hold and detain the driver for only 20 days to investigate and charge him to court if indicted of any crime.
She held that since the DSS failed to apply to the court for extension of the 20 days detention period and did not arraign Shuaib, further detention was unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, and null and void.
Justice Olajuwon held also that the fundamental right of Shuaib to freedom of movement had been breached by the DSS.
She faulted the claim by the DSS that the detainee had been moved to the military detention facility in Gwa Gwa, Niger, on alleged terrorism.
According to her there is no evidence to that effect before the court.
The judge nullified the continued detention of the driver and ordered his immediate release from the DSS custody in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that Shuaib sued the DSS through his lawyer, Mr Bala Dakum for breach of his fundamental rights.
He told the court that the DSS had accused him of possession of firearms with the intention to supply same to terrorists.
He asked the court to order his release and order the DSS to pay a compensation of N50 million to him for the unlawful detention.