Businesswoman demands N800m for damages, end to further harassment.
Admin l Sunday, 19 February 2023
ABUJA, Nigeria – Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali and the Ebonyi State Police Command have been dragged to the Federal High Court Abuja, over a gross breach of fundamental human rights.
An Abuja-based businesswoman, Dr. Jackie Ikeotuonye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Andrew Bishopton Limited and partners, had through her lawyer, Henry Chukwudi Esq. dragged the defendants to court in defense and protection of her fundamental human rights provisions as contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended) and Articles 4, 5, 6, 12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, revised laws of the federation.
In suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/122/2023, the businesswoman is also demanding the payment of a total sum of N800 million from Governor Umahi, the IGP, and the Ebonyi State Police Command for unlawful arrest, intimidation, harassment and detention that infringed on her fundamental human right.
She is seeking an order directing the 1st and 2nd Respondents to pay her the sum of 500, 000,000 (Five Hundred Million Naira) only being damages for instigating her unlawful arrest, detention and intimidation by officers and men of the 3rd and 4th Respondents.
The businesswoman, through her lawyer, Henry Chukwudi Esq. further urged the court to direct the Respondents to also pay to her the sum of 300, 000,000 (Three Hundred Million Naira) only for her unlawful arrest, detention and intimidation by officers and men of the 3rd and 4th Respondents as well as “other such orders as the Honourable Court may deem it fit to make in the circumstance of the suit and or application.”
Dr. Ikeotuonye’s Counsel, Henry Chukwudi Esq in conjunction with Kolawole Olowookere Chambers, Abuja, deposed that the arrest and harassment of his client by the officers of the 3rd and 4th Respondents upon the instigation of the 1st and 2nd Respondents over the lawful debt owed to her company without any justification is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.
The Counsel further seeks an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd and 4th Respondents, whether by themselves, their agents, officers, proxies, or servants whosoever from further unlawful intimidation, the threat of arrest, disturbance, arrest or detention of the 1st Applicant in any manner whatsoever.
The suit said that the transaction giving rise to this application for which the 1st and 2nd Respondents instigated the 3rd and 4th respondents to arrest, harass, and continuous threat to arrest and intimidate the applicants, arose from a breach of contract and refusal to obey court orders by the defendants.
“The continuous harassment, intimidation, and threat to arrest the Applicant are threats to her freedom of movement and by extension a threat to her life and business if not restrained by the Court.
“The further threat of arrest, harassment, and intimidation of the Applicant given the facts and circumstances of this case constitute a violation of the Fundamental Right Provisions contained in the Constitution of the
The Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended) and Articles 4, 5, 6, 12, and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Revised Laws of the Federation.
“The Applicant is entitled to the enjoyment and the protection of her Fundamental Human Rights by this Honourable Court as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999,” the suit declared.
It will be recalled that Dr. Ikeotuonye had dragged the Ebonyi State Government to court for refusal to pay her company, Andrew Bishopton Limited, and partner, Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited their agreed fees after the State engaged them to recover money wrongly deducted by the federal government on foreign loans from the state government between 1995 and 2002.
This appointment, according to her was followed by a consultancy services agreement signed between the state and Andrew Bishopton on the 17th of November 2015 where it was stated that the State would pay the company 25% of the sum reconciled, recovered, and paid into the account of the State by the Federal Government.
The Ebonyi State government reneged in the agreement to pay, prompting Ikeotuonye and partners to seek a court injunction in another suit in which the judgment was given in her favour, and the bank accounts of the Ebonyi State government was ordered by the court to be garnished.
Instead of obeying the court order, the Ebonyi State governor employed the instrumentality of the police to arrest, detain, and flew Dr. Ikeotuonye from Abuja to Abakaliki, where she was allegedly coerced to sign an agreement that she will not approach the court to enforce her fundamental human rights.
And since she obtained the court injunction garnishing the accounts of the state, instead of paying the debt owed her, she alleged that Governor Umahi has been using the police to harass and intimidate her despite her petition to the Inspector General of Police.
“Since then Governor Umahi, instead of making effort to pay us the fees owed us despite intervention by governors and other prominent Nigerians, has been after me insisting that I must go to Port Harcourt, and file an application to set aside the judgment. I have been strongly advised against this by legal experts. The Governor, rather than appeal the judgment or pay us, has been hounding me.”
Efforts to reach the SA Media and strategy to the governor, Chooks Oko, and the police PPRO for their reaction were not successful.