Igboho: Court Of Appeal Sets Aside N20bn Damages Against DSS

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 *says lower court acted on wrong principles of law in awarding the cost 

By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan

The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan on Tuesday, set aside the judgement of an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan which awarded N20 billion damages to the Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho in September last year

In his judgment in the appeal filed by the Attorney General of the Federation,State Security Service and Director, State Security Service in  Oyo State, against the judgement Justice Ladiran Akintola, Justice Muslim Hassan 

disclosed that the lower court acted on the wrong principles of law in awarding the cost to Chief Sunday Igboho.

Justice Hassan declared  that the lower court judge,  Justice Akintola can’t assess damages claimed by Chief Sunday Igboho using his own conceived parameters and that the

 judgement was not supported by any evidence, but by two affidavits stating that Justice Akintola cannot assess damages using his own conceived parameters.

The Court of Appeal judge pointed out that there was no evidence that quoted the value of  damages at Chief Sunday Igboho’s residence and that there was no evidence including autopsy to support the claim that two people were killed in the activist’s  residence during the invasion.

Justice Hassan stressed that the lower court assumed jurisdiction of the case to look at the enforcement of fundamental human rights suit filed by Igboho without looking at the merit of the case, adding that the court should not have assumed jurisdiction of the case without looking at its merit. 

Justice Hassan said the case did not qualify under the enforcement of human rights because there is a threat to national security, saying, ” when  there is a threat to national security, the enforcement of fundamental right is secondary”.

” I have read the judgement of the lower court and the Article 20:1 of the African charter on self determination and Article 3 and 4 of the United Nations charter on rights of the the indegeneous people which the judgement was based upon. A statute cannot  be treated in isolation”, he said.   

The Court of Appeal judge added, “ when considering a statute, entire provision should be considered and not a section. The same charter talks about the sovereignty of a nation. Neglecting Article 27,28,29 of the African charter will not give proper interpretation to it. “

“Article 3 and 4 of the United Nations charter have not been domesticated in Nigeria. No international treaty shall have a force of law without being treated by the national assembly; and international treaty does not become binding unless enacted into law by the National Assembly. 

Therefore, the United Nations declaration is not enforceable in Nigeria. The judge acted on wrong principles of law and the action of the respondent constitute a threat to unity of Nigeria. The respondent has no right to take up arms against Nigeria,”

The appellants filed six grounds of appeal. They  want the court to determine if the trial judge was right to determine the issue of fundamental human right; if the trial judge was right to assume jurisdiction of the case against a Federal Government agency; if the originating motion of the respondent was competent; if the respondent was right to take up arms against the government in his quest for self determination; if the trial judge was right enter judgement in favour of the respondent;  and if the trial judge was right to award damages to the respondent.

Justice Hassan however resolved issues 1,4,5 and 6 in the applicants favour and resolved  issues 2 and 3 in favour of the respondent and 

subsequently held that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit and set the judgement aside.

Justice Hassan stressed that  respective parties in the case should bear their costs.

The legal head of DSS in Oyo State, Barr. Nurudeen Abdulrahman in his reaction to the judgement said it  affirmed the position of 1999 constitution.

Counsel  to Igboho, Chief Yomi Alliyu (SAN) on his part commended the judge for a well considered judgement.

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