A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Nigerian Police
Force, Inspector Genersl of Police and the FCT Commissioner of Police to
pay N50 million to Charles Oputa, a.k.a Charly Boy, the leader of
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice John Tsoho awarded
the amount on Monday while delivering judgment in a fundamental rights suit
brought against the Police by Charly Boy.
Tsoho said the sum was a compensation for the violation of Oputa’s rights
to dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly
He ordered the Police to publish an apology to Charly Boy in two national
NAN recalls that in a suit filed on March 29, Charly Boy had accused the
police and their officers of harassing him and members of the OurMumuDonDo
campaign during the #ResumeOrResign protests.
Charly Boy through his lawyer, Mr Inibehe Effiong, argued that the Police
attacked the group during a peaceful demonstration at the Unity Fountain in
He asked the court to determine whether the “use of water cannons, teargas
canisters and wild police dogs to harass him and members of his group
during the said a peaceful protest on Aug. 8, 2017 is constitutional.
” He argued that the act was an infringement on his fundamental rights,
freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association as enshrined in
Sections 34, 39, and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria, 1999 (as amended.
Charly Boy, therefore, prayed the court to make a compelling order on the
FCT police and their commissioner to publish a public apology to him in
five national newspapers.
He also demanded that payment of the sum of N100 million as general damages
be awarded to the applicant as well as direct that N400 million be paid as
exemplary damages by the police.
Delivering judgment on the case, Justice Tsoho held that there was no
evidence that miscreants invaded or stormed the premises of the protest as
alleged by the police.
On whether the Applicant is entitled to stage the protest, the court held
that protest is a constitutionally-guaranteed right provided it is done
“The Respondents (the Police) need not exercise an uncommon aggression and
mayhem to ward off alleged miscreants. “The law is that the court has the
right to grant redress to anyone whose right is violated and the applicant
is entitled to a remedy.
“Relief four is granted and the respondents are ordered to publish an
apology to the applicant in two national newspapers for violating his
“The sum of N50 million is awarded against the respondents as general and
exemplary damages,’’ Tsoho ruled.
Reacting to the judgment, Charly Boy’s counsel, Effiong described it as “a
resounding victory for democracy, freedom of expression and peaceful
assembly in the country”.
“This judgment sends unequivocal message to the Nigerian Police that they
have no power to stop or disrupt peaceful protests by Nigerians.
“The police by this judgment cannot invent flimsy excuses to stop citizens
from exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and
peaceful assembly. “I am highly elated by this victory for democracy,’’ he