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President of Chocolate City Group, Audu Maikori, has been awarded N40m compensation by the Federal High Court in Abuja for his unlawful arrest and detention earlier this year.
Delivering judgement Friday in the fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by Maikori, Justice John Tsoho ordered the four respondents including, Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, and the police to pay the damages in addition to the sum of N1,430 as the cost of instituting the suit.
The respondents to the suit are the Inspector-General of Police, the Commissioner of Police in Kaduna State, the Governor of Kaduna State and the Attorney-General of Kaduna State, Punch writes.
Maikori’s world turned around when he was nabbed in January on allegations of posting “inciting” tweets alleging the killing of some Southern Kaduna students by Fulani herdsmen.
Though he expressed regrets and apologised after details highlighted in the tweets later turned out to be false, the police went ahead to obtain an order of arrest from a Magistrates’ court in Kaduna.
He was then picked up in Lagos on February 17, flown to Abuja where he was detained and subsequently released on bail on February 18.
According to the judge, Maikori’s arrest in Lagos was unlawful as the police failed to register the arrest warrant obtained from a magistrates’ court in Kaduna in any court in Lagos where it effected the arrest.
“The arrest was improper, irregular and wrongful,” said Tsoho, who granted 14 out of 25 applications by Maikori’s lawyer, Gloria Ballason.
“By necessary implication, the arrest was unlawful despite being released after 24 hours.”
However, Justice Tsoho noted that his judgement was not meant to interfere with the ongoing trial of Makori for posting inciting materials on social media.