The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Kogi council, has dragged the State Security Service, SSS, to a Federal High Court, Lokoja, over ‘unlawful’ arrest and continued detention of its member, Friday Ogungbemi.
Mr. Ogungbemi, a Lokoja-based journalist and publisher, was arrested and detained by the SSS, also called DSS, on November 30 over alleged offensive publication in the November 23 – December 15, 2016 edition of the Policy and Lawmakers magazine.
The NUJ, which filed the suit on behalf of the journalist, is seeking enforcement of his fundamental human rights and N5 million damages for unlawful incarceration and infringement on his fundamental rights.
The NUJ’s counsel, J.U. Usman, filed the motion on notice on Tuesday.
Mr. Usman sought four reliefs, including an order enforcing the journalist’s rights to personal liberty, freedom of movement and fair hearing being violated by the respondent since Nov. 30.
He also sought an order of the court to enforce the rights being infringed upon by the respondent’s continued detention of Mr. Ogungbemi at the DSS detention facility “which is unreasonable, illegal, unconstitutional, null and void”.
The NUJ also demanded N5 million only as compensation for his unlawful arrest and detention and asked for further order(s) the court might consider just and appropriate to make for the redress of the infringement of his rights.
The reliefs, according to the counsel, are based on three grounds including that the applicant had no criminal records and that his arrest and continued detention over the publication was unreasonable, illegal and unconstitutional.
He also held that there was a competent court of jurisdiction within 16-kilometer radius from the detention facility of the respondent wherein the applicant was detained but the respondent refused or neglected to charge him to court within the constitutional period.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the motion was supported by a seven-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one T. S. Luka Esq. of J.U. Usman and Co. law firm, Lokoja.
In the written address in support of the applicant’s motion on notice, the counsel raised two issues for determination.
They include whether the arrest and continued detention of the applicant was not a violation of his rights to personal liberty, freedom of movement and fair hearing and whether the applicant was not entitled to the compensation claimed therein.