American lady challenges detention by Nigerian Police

Posted by News Express | 19 March 2021 | 991 times

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•Lagos Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu

 

An American lady, Kari Ann R’ouke, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos, against the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, asking the court to order her release from police custody. In Suit No. FHC/L/CS/434/2021 filed at the Registry of the Court on Thursday, March 18, 2021, Kari Ann is asking for a declaration that the police is not entitled to arrest and detain her for an indefinite period of time over a matter that does not disclose any reasonable offence, a declaration that her continued remand in perpetuity without a charge is illegal and unconstitutional and for an order directing the police to forthwith release her from illegal custody.

Named as respondents in the suit filed on her behalf by legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, are the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu and the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba, DCP  Adegoke Fayoade. In the affidavit in support of the case, it is stated that Kari Ann is a certified nurse in America, who came to Nigeria sometimes in or about January 21, 2021, to partner with someone he met online to establish a humanitarian outfit. Upon completing her assignment in Nigeria, she departed for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport on August 8, 2021, enroute America. She was however stopped by the Immigration Department on the ground that her COVID 19 Test result had expired, whereupon she was made to sleep at the Airport purportedly for a new COVID 19 test. It was later the following day that she was informed that she was being arrested because her friend had passed on, unknown to her. She has been in police custody ever since. The CCTV footage of the hotel showed clearly that Kari Ann left her friend in the hotel room in good health in the company of his friends and relatives, all of whom were initially arrested but have now been released upon the autopsy report which showed that he died of cardiac arrest, without any foul play.

Kari Ann has been a subject of extortion ever since, even though no prima facie case has been established against her. Since her incarceration, Kari Ann has lost about 23 pounds in weight, she has emaciated tremendously, she has suffered bouts of malaria, dysentery and she is going through extreme emotional and mental stress, without any link to her family or relatives. It is further stated in the case that she has a delicate medical condition, she is anaemic and thus requires constant medical check up and treatment. She claimed that she is entitled to be released on bail in the same way that the principal suspects have been released and that she is only being persecuted because of her status as a foreign citizen, even when responsible entities and individuals have volunteered to take her on bail. She therefore wants the court to order her release so that she could take care of her delicate health condition and go back to America to join her family.

The reliefs being sought in the case are as follows:

A. A DECLARATION that the Respondents are not entitled to detain or in any other manner restrict the liberty of the Applicant in flagrant violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights, guaranteed under sections 34 & 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 4, 5, 6 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

B. A DECLARATION that the continued detention of the Applicant by the Respondents from February 9, 2021 constitute a flagrant violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 34, 35, 36 and 46 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Articles 4, 5, 6 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and therefore is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

C. A DECLARATION that the incarceration and continued confinement of the Applicant in perpetuity by the Respondents constitutes a flagrant violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights guaranteed under section 34, 35, 36 & 46(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 4, 5, 6 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and therefore is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void

D. A DECLARATION that the continued detention, confinement and incarceration of the Applicant since February 9, 2021, by the Respondents, their agents, servants, privies, officers or otherwise howsoever without bringing the Applicant before any court of law or to answer any Charge under any law is a clear violation of the Applicant’s fundamental human rights guaranteed under section 33, 34, 35, 36 and 46(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 4, 5, 6 & 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

E. A DECLARATION that the Applicant is entitled to move freely in any part of Nigeria, without let or hindrance from the Respondent in exercise of her fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 35 & 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

F. A DECLARATION that the Respondents’ constitutional and statutory duty do not extend to unlawful detention of innocent individuals who have not been charged to court or found guilty of any offence by any competent court of law in Nigeria.

G. AN ORDER directing the Respondents to forthwith cease and abstain from applying for a remand order against the Applicant over matters pertaining to financial crimes to which the Applicant has been in detention since the February 9, 2021.

H. AN ORDER directing the Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever to forthwith release the Applicant from unlawful custody.

I. AN INJUNCTION restraining the Respondents whether themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from applying for a remand order against the Applicant in respect of the allegation of any criminal offence to which the Applicant has been in detention since February 9, 2021 all in violation of the Applicant’s fundamental right.

J. AN INJUNCTION restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from further violating the fundamental rights of the Applicant through unlawful arrest and detention.

K. AN INJUNCTION restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from further arresting, detaining, persecuting, dehumanizing or in any other manner taking steps that may jeopardize the liberty, freedom and life of the Applicant except and in a manner permitted and sanctioned by law.

L. AN INJUNCTION restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from further constituting a threat or hindrance to the life, human dignity, personal liberty and freedom of the Applicant through arrest or detention or remand for the purpose of preventing or disturbing her free movement and liberty in and or outside Nigeria.

M. AN INJUNCTION restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their servants,, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from carrying out any acts or omission which is likely to contravene the fundamental rights of the Applicant guaranteed under the Constitution and African Charter.

N. ONE HUNDRED MILLION NAIRA ONLY being general, aggravated, special and exceptional damages against the Respondents, jointly and/ or severally for the violation of the fundamental rights of the Applicant.

O. SUCH FURTHER OR OTHER ORDERS as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

No date has been assigned for the hearing of the suit.


Source: News Express

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