The ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja has ordered the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to pay Nigerian journalist Agba Jalingo N30 million.
The money is compensation for the ill-treatment and torture of Jalingo while in detention in Cross River State.
The citizen was arrested and chained to a deep freezer for about 34 days without being charged to court.
The court noted that having studied the suit and facts provided by SERAP, it found no answer as to why Jalingo was arrested and illegally detained, brutalized and dehumanized.
The court said the action of security agencies was against human rights agreements, particularly the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a signatory.
The Nigerian government was lambasted for flouting the provisions of treaties on international fair trial standards.
“On the claims of compensation for ill-treatment and torture, SERAP has been able to establish the claims.
“We condemn the Nigerian government for these acts, and hereby award compensation of N30 million to Mr. Jalingo for violations of his human rights,” the judgment read.
The Buhari administration was ordered to comply within three months, and file a process to the effect.
Legal luminary, Femi Falana, said in view of the on-going brutalization of hapless Nigerians by the police and other security arms, the judgment came at the right time.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) told the federal, state governments and all law enforcement agencies to study the verdict.
Falana warned them to desist from infringing on the human rights of the Nigerian people, including criminal suspects who are presumed innocent until the contrary is proved in court.