Posted by News Express | 5 February 2013 | 3,153 times
The Police Commissioner for Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Aderenle Shinaba, has been asked to pay damages amounting to N10 million for the illegal detention and arraignment of a senior journalist, Mr. Simon Imobo-Tswam.
The Abuja-based Imobo-Tswam demanded the said sum in a petition against Mr. Shinaba which he sent the Abuja Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) as well as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over “Illegal detention and illegal arraignment.”
News Express reports that the FCT police boss last January 16 arraigned Imobo-Tswam at the Gudu Upper Area Court, Abuja, for “breach of trust and theft” in connection with his months-long dispute with his former employer, The Moment newspaper, Lagos.
Imobo-Tswam, the pioneer Abuja Bureau Chief of The Moment, who left the organization in August 2012 over unpaid salaries, is also demanding a N10,000 compensation from the police, the return of the Picanto car which the police impounded as well as an apology in five national newspapers
Both petitions, entitled “Petition against FCT police commissioner in respect of malicious persecution, obstruction of justice, illegal arrest, invasion of privacy, illegal search of my house, illegal detention and illegal arraignment on false charges,” are addressed to the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (Abuja Council) and the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) respectively.
According to copies of the petition, dated January 29, 2013 and February 1, 2013 respectively, Imobo-Tswam is alleging that although he was holding onto the Picanto following his resignation, the matter was in court as he had slammed a N200 million suit against his former employers.
The petition to NHRC reads in part: “In effect, even though I was in mourning, even though there was no complainant, and even though the matter was in court, the police impounded the car and lap-top, clamped me into illegal detention overnight, and arraigned me the following day on the trumped up charges of: CRIMINAL BREACH OF TRUST AND THEFT.”
“The man, who did not pay me my salary for eight (8) months, was not arraigned for breach of trust; the Commissioner of Police did not arraign, for breach of trust, the man, who deducted my tax (10 per cent of my salary) for almost two years without remitting it to the appropriate government bodies, for breach of trust; it was me he arraigned.”
It reads further: “Mr. Executive Secretary, Sir, this is as unbelievable as it is shocking. If a neighbour or a junior police officer threatens me in the FCT, I can petition him/her to the FCT Police commissioner. But if the FCT commissioner himself becomes my main threat, I am really in trouble.
“But worse still, sir, if the commissioner willfully truncates justice, joins forces with someone with whom I have sued for over N200 million and arraigns me in court on fictional and malicious charges so as to stop the civil matter, I am left with no choice than to call for help. This is the essence of this petition, this SOS, to you.”
He is also asking the Investigation Police Officer (IPO), one Inspector Abah, to return his documents his Driver’s Licence and International Passport which he insisted on carrying away in the impounded car.
Hearing in the suit Commissioner of Police vs Simon Imobo-Tswam has been fixed for February 15 by the Gudu Upper Area Court.
•Photo: FCT police chief, Aderenle Shinaba, stands accused of overstepping his bounds.
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