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Oil Magnate,Offor, 5 others Dragged to Court over detention of human rights activist, Okonkwo.

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Oil Magnate,Offor, 5 others Dragged to Court over detention of human rights activist, Okonkwo.

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From Kayode Lawal, Abuja.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Oil Magnate, Emeka Offor and five others have been dragged before a Federal High Court over alleged unlawful arrest and detention of a human rights activist, Bonny Okonkwo.

Okonkwo, a South Africa based social critic was said to have been arrested in his Oraifite
Community in Anambra State and clamped into detention by Police since January 3, 2024 for allegedly criticizing Emeka Offor in a media publication.

An originating motion on notice just served on the IGP at the Force Headquarters and sighted by our correspondent showed that Okonkwo is praying the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining Police and its agents from further arresting, detaining or infringing on his personal liberty.

Apart from IGP, other defendants in the suit are Sir Emeka Offor, Area Commander, Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Assistant Inspector General of Police AIG in Zone 13 and Commissioner of Police in charge of Cyber Crimes Bureau.

In the suit.marked FHC/AWK/CS/02/2024, the detained activist is asking the court to order his immediate release from police custody or in the alternative, cause police to arraign in court for any committed offence.

In the fundamental enforcement suit filed on his behalf by Sabastine Ifeanyi Okonkwo, the applicant prayed the Court to impose N50M fine on police to be paid to him as compensation for his unlawful detention.

Besides, the applicant sought a declaration by the court that his arrest and detention by the Area Commander, Commissioner of Police in Anambra State and the Assistant Inspector General of Police AIG Zone 13 since January 13 without bail is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and unjustifiable.

He also wants the court to declare that the threats to further detain him in Abuja violates his right to freedom of movement and personal liberty as guaranteed by section 35 of the 1999 Constitution.

In his statement of claims in support of the motion on notice, the applicant asserted he is a human rights activist and social crusader and an indigene of Oraifite in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The statement read in part “It was on the 4th day of January 2024, that Comrade Bonny Okonkwo who returned home to celebrate the Christmas holiday with his family, was ambushed at gun point by Police personnel from Oraifite Area Command Headquarters.

“Comrade Bonny was immediately whisked away to Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Awka and was confronted with a petition written against him by Emeka Offor through his solicitors Emeka Ajaegbo & Co. and questioned on a comment allegedly attributed to him,.

“Since the 4th day of January 2024, Comrade Bonny has been held illegally in the custody of the Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Awka.

“Though the content of the said online publication is presently a subject matter of litigation, Comrade Bonny is till today being held by police over a matter pending in court.

“Following the obvious gross violation of Bonny’s fundamental rights extantly guaranteed under the constitution, his Solicitor S.I. Okonkwo, esq. commenced this Fundamental Rights Action before the Federal High Court Awka to enforce the immediate release of comrade Bonny Okonkwo.

“Today, being the 20th day of January 2024, marks the 16 days Bonny has been held in the custody of the Police without being granted bail or even charged to court if he has committed any offence known to law.

Meanwhile, hearing in the matter has been fixed for January 30.

In a related development, counsel to the applicant, Sabastine Ifeanyi Okonkwo has appealed to the Vice President, Kashim Shetima and IGP, Kayode Egbetokun to use their respective offices to order immediate release of the detainee.

“While we await the hearing date, we wish to use this medium to seek for the immediate intervention of the Inspector General of Police and the office of the Vice President to immediately order that Bonny Okonkwo who has been held in confinement, in gross violation of his constitutional guaranteed rights, be released immediately or be charged to court if he has committed any offence known to law”, the lawyer pleaded.