by Akan Ido
Judge Esther Edigin of the Edo State High Court today ordered the police to pay David Ugolor a sum of N5m for damages caused him by his unlawful detention.
The judge had on August 16 given an order compelling the police to release Ugolor, an order which was ignored. Ugolor had been held by the police in detention since July 16.
David Ugolor is the Executive Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, who was accused of involvement in the killing of Olaitan Oyerinde, an aide to the governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole.
The killing took place in the weeks leading to the gubernatorial election in Edo State which was comfortably won by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Oshiomhole.
In her ruling today, Edigin reportedly said, “Respect for law and order is the foundation of any society, but when the police moved to disobey court orders, then the society is heading for anarchy.
“I make bold to say that the attitude of the police is a dangerous signal and a threat to human rights. This is most unfortunate,” she lamented.
Ugolor had sued the police for violating his fundamental human rights after he was detained without trial for more than 48 hours as permitted by law. He demanded for N500 million from the police, out of which the court approved the N5 million.
The judge ruled that the police should have obtained a court order for further detention of Mr. Ugolor. She also ordered the police to desist from further arresting the accused in connection with this matter.
The police authorities and men of the State Security Service had paraded different sets of suspects regarding the case but the suspects paraded by the SSS were said to have confessed to the killing without mentioning any connection with David Ugolor.
Ugolor was released from detention last week.