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Court Fines SSS; Orders Apology To El – Rufai Over Infringement On Liberty

 

 

 

The State Security Service (SSS) has been ordered by the Federal High Court to send apology to the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, as well as pay him the sum of N2 million over damages for unlawful detention.

The ex radical Minister had approached court following his harassment at the Finotel in Awka and detention by the SSS officials during the Anambra state governorship election, held on November 15 and 16 2013, in which the incumbent Governor Willie Obianao emerged the winner.

APC chieftain Malam El-Rufai

Former FCT Minister, Malam El-Rufai

Delivering the judgment in Awka, the Anambra state capital Monday on the suit marked, FHC/AWK/CS/310/13, Justice Ibrahim Bature Gafai held that the SSS has no statutory powers under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 or under any Nigerian law to detain the former Minister and a chieftain of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), without showing cause to a court of competent jurisdiction.

Consequently, the court ruled that the SSS should  publish apology in two national dailies for the “unlawful and unconstitutional violation of his liberty”.

While ruling on the restriction of movement during elections, Justice Bature declared that the respondents have no powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria  or under any Nigerian law “to either impose a general restriction on movement or restrict the applicant’s constitutional right of freedom of movement as enshrined in Section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”

“This decision has massive implications for the way government agencies routinely attempt to restrict movement of persons, especially during elections” stressed the jurist.

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