A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, and presided over by Justice A. O. Awogboro, on Friday ordered the Joint Task Force, codenamed ‘Operation Delta Safe’, to pay the sum of N1m as damages to a nursing mother, Mrs Yeibra Esingha, for illegally detaining her.
The PUNCH reports that the court ruled in suit number: FHC/YNG/CS/1/2019 on fundamental rights enforcement filed by her counsel, Mr Victor Gbafe, between the Commander of OPDS, Rear Admiral A. O. Sulieman and the applicant, Mrs Esinghan, she prayed the court to declare her arrest and detention illegal.
The suit also demanded her immediate release from the OPDS detention and a restraining order against her arrest and detention.
According to a 12-paragraph affidavit, the applicant was arrested on December 31, 2018 by OPDS operatives in Mbiama Town, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, as a bait to compel her husband to turn himself in for interrogation.
In her judgment, Justice Awogboro declared that the arrest and detention of the nursing mother was wrong, illegal and a breach of her fundamental human rights to dignity of the human person, liberty and right to privacy and family life.
While awarding the compensation, the judge held that “once violation of rights is proven, the applicant is entitled to award of damages in pursuant to Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended”.
Justice Awogboro also ordered the immediate release of the applicant from detention and also issued a restraining order to the OPDS from inviting, arresting or torturing the applicant.
The court also directed the OPDS to tender a public apology to the applicant.