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Businessman sues Deputy IG of Police for N500M over rights violation

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A businessman Musa Saliu has filed a N500 million lawsuit against the Deputy Inspector-General of Police and others, alleging violations of his fundamental human rights. 

 The suit, filed at the FCT High Court by his lawyer, Femi Motojesi, names the Deputy Inspector-General, Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, and Funmilola Florence Olorunfemi as co-defendants, based on reports. 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that a certified true copy of the suit, dated June 14, was provided on Sunday in Abuja. 

According to Saliu the police falsely declared him wanted in a land dispute, publishing his name and photograph in a Special Police Gazette Bulletin.

He argued that this action violated his rights under Sections 34, 35, 41, and 46, as well as Articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. 

The businessman seeks a court declaration that the bulletin’s publication, Ref No: CB: 3510/LX/FHQ/SEB/ABJ/T.7/Vo. 1/20, infringed on his fundamental rights. He also requests an order to unfreeze his account with Globus Bank, asserting that the police overstepped  “to engage in the act of debt recovery for the 3rd defendant (Olorunfemi) who is a subscriber to the applicant’s (Saliu’s) estate under construction.” 

Saliu, who was a New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) governorship candidate in Kogi’s 2023 election, demands N500 million in damages for the breach of his rights to privacy, dignity, personal liberty, and freedom of movement. He further seeks a published apology from the police in the Special Police Gazette Bulletin and two national newspapers. 

The dispute originated when Olorunfemi paid N25 million for a house in Saliu’s estate, which was subsequently demolished by the FCT Department of Development Control.  

Despite notifying subscribers of his efforts to resolve the issue, Olorunfemi involved the police to recover her funds. Saliu contends that this matter is civil, not criminal, and does not warrant police intervention. 

The case, marked FCT/ CV/2839/24, awaits assignment to a judge.  

An earlier Naijaonpoint report stated that Tony Ojukwu (SAN), the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC),  revealed that the commission annually receives more than two million complaints but expressed concerns about the inadequacy of its N4.5 billion budget to effectively address these issues. 

According to Oyekunle, Chairman of the FCT Correspondent Chapel, Nigerian Union of Journalists, h a significant number of human rights violations are committed by the police. 

He emphasised the persistent lack of trust and confidence in the police among Nigerian citizens, despite the police authorities’ efforts to create a positive image through posters and television advertisements. 

Oyekunle further noted that despite political advancements, Nigerians continue to suffer human rights abuses at the hands of security agencies, with no perpetrators being held accountable. 

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