For assaulting a woman and stripping her in public, a State High Court in Uyo has asked an Akwa Ibom man and his wife to pay N4 million to the victim.
The man, Uduak Nseobot, and his wife, Aniedi, are to pay an additional N200,000 to the woman to cover the cost of litigation.
Mr Nseobot, in November 2018, abducted the victim, Iniubong Essien, in Uyo and drove her to Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of the state, about 27 minutes’ drive, where he and the wife assaulted the woman and publicly stripped her – they had accused her of stealing their money.
They said the money was “sprayed” on them at their wedding — a common practice at Nigerian festivities.
Ms Essien had her body painted with charcoal and a rope tied around her waist, while she was forced to dance naked before some community people.
The incident happened when Mr Nseobot was a councillor (a lawmaker) in Ibiono Ibom council.
The assaulted woman, Ms Essien, who had been a close friend to Mr Nseobot’s wife for about 10 years, denied stealing the money.
The judge, Edem Akpan, while delivering judgement on Thursday, said what Mr Nseobot and his wife did to the woman was “totally condemnable”.
The judge said the man’s action was a typical disregard Nigerian politicians have for citizens’ rights.
The court said by their own affidavits, Mr Uduak and his wife “admitted to committing the atrocities” and that they had no defence for what they did.
A Lagos-based lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, who had filed the fundamental rights enforcement suit on behalf of Ms Essien, told PREMIUM TIMES his client has been vindicated by the judgement.
“From the onset, the evidence was very compelling. What the former councillor did was quite outrageous. I think that is about one of the most grievous examples of human rights violations (in Nigeria), said Mr Effiong who did the case pro bono for the woman.
“We are going to enforce the judgement. If they go on appeal, we will be waiting for them,” he said.
Ms Essien said she was happy with the court judgment.
“No, I wasn’t surprised with the judgment, he couldn’t have gotten away with what he did,” she told PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Nseobot and his wife were represented in the case by Mfon Ben.
The lawyer did not respond to calls seeking comment from him.
Meanwhile, the former councillor is facing criminal charges over the incident.
A suit in which he filed to stop the police from investigating the matter was dismissed by a judge.
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