A Jos High Court on Tuesday ordered the Nigeria Police to pay N1 million as damage to a suspect, Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi, the Secretary, Kanam Traditional Council.
The court also ordered the police to refund N700, 000 said that to have been extorted from Abullahi, who was unlawfully detained and prosecuted for a crime he was not guilty of.
Justice Yargata Nimpa of High Court 4, while delivering judgment on the case of conspiracy, breach of trust and criminal offence, said that the police over-stepped its bounds by extorting N700, 000 from Abdullahi.
The court had heard that Abddullahi was arrested in Kanam Local Government and taken to the state Criminal Investigation Department where he was forced to ``cough out N700, 000 said to be part of N8 million given to one Nafiu Abubakar.
The court further heard that one Mohammed Kabir, proprietor of Al-yusura Primary and Secondary School, Konar Shagari, Jos was alleged to have given Abubakar, a cousin to the Emir of Kanam the said money to organise a launching for his school.
``But on collecting the money, Abubakar disappeared, thereby, compelling Kabir to alert the police, who went after him.
``When he was arrested, Abubakar allegedly mentioned names of some individuals he claimed he kept part of the money with, including Abdullahi.
When the police arrested Abdullahi, he was compelled to return the N700, 000 as part payment of the said N8 million.
He was also said to have been under detention and trial for five years until Wednesday’s judgment that set him free and awarded the N1m damage to him over ``breach of his fundamental human right and extortion.’’
Angered by the detention, Abdullahi then sued the police through his counsel, Mr Simon Tsok.
In his judgment, Nimpa declared that the police had no constitutional powers to collect debt for people or to extort money from individuals.
``I hereby award N1 million as damage in favour of the applicant against the respondent, who must also refund the N700, 000 collected from him (applicant) within 14 days from today,’’ Nimpa declared.
Reacting to the judgment, Tsok expressed satisfaction at the outcome and said that the court had done a thorough job of it.
``Justice has finally prevailed today and we are happy at this victory for the rule of law,’’ Tsok said. (NAN)