Charly Boy Outsmarts Nigeria Police Again As Court Insists On Payment Of N50 Million In Damages, Apologising For Disrupting Anti-Buhari Protest - Mc Ebisco
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Charly Boy Outsmarts Nigeria Police Again As Court Insists On Payment Of N50 Million In Damages, Apologising For Disrupting Anti-Buhari Protest

The judgment was delivered by the current Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John Tsoho, against the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory Command and the Nigeria Police Force.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed an appeal filed by the Inspector General of Police, and others against a 2018 judgment that awarded N50 million as exemplary damages against the police.

The judgment was delivered by the current Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John Tsoho, against the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory Command and the Nigeria Police Force.

The court awarded the damages against the police for violently disrupting a peaceful protest led by musician and activist, Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy.

Delivering judgment in the appeal on Tuesday, a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal in a unanimous judgment dismissed the appeal and affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court.

In the lead judgment delivered by Hon. Justice Jumbo-Ofo which was supported by two other Justices of the appellate court on the panel, the Court of Appeal agreed with the counsel for Charly Boy, Inibehe Effiong, that the musician had proved his case with credible, convincing and unchallenged evidence.

Justice Ofo decried the actions of the officers of the Nigeria Police in using teargas and hot water cannons to disperse the peaceful protesters. He described it as an act of impunity.

According to the Court of Appeal Justice, the officers engaged in “a naked and blatant violation of the rights of the Respondent (Charles Oputa)” to dignity, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

The appellate court, therefore, reaffirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court and insisted that the police must pay Charly Boy the sum of 50 million naira, tender written apologies to him in two national newspapers and also pay the sum of N100,000 as the cost of action.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel for Charly Boy, Effiong who represented him in the case alongside his colleague, S. M. Oyeghe, Esq, commended the Court of Appeal for its decision which he said will enhance Nigeria’s democracy.

Charly Boy had led other activists under the group called ‘OurMumuDonDo’ in a peaceful protest at the Unity Fountain on August 8, 2017, to demand that President Muhammadu Buhari, who at the time had travelled to the United Kingdom for medical attention and was away for over 90 days, to either resume or resign.

In the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/343/2018 filed on March 29, 2018, by Effiong on behalf of the 72-year-old musician, Charly Boy gave a graphic account of how policemen numbering over 100 from the FCT command invaded the Unity Fountain and attacked him and his group with tear gas canisters, hot water cannons and wild police dogs during the ‘Resume or Resign’ protest.

Charly Boy further narrated how the attack by the policemen was so severe that he collapsed in the process and was rushed to the hospital.

He stated that the police attacked them because of claims that their protest had gone international and brought serious embarrassment to the country.

Delivering judgment in the case on October 22, 2018, Justice Tsoho held that there was no evidence that miscreants invaded or stormed the protest venue and that the protesters were not violent in any way.

The judge rejected as baseless, the argument of the police that they acted to maintain peace, law and order.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, the police through their counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, O. M. Atoyebi SAN, filed a Notice of Appeal on October 23, 2018, asking the Court of Appeal in Abuja to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court.