Court fines Bello N500m, orders apology for Ajaka’s rights violation
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi, awarding N500 million in damages to Murtala Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s candidate in the November 11 governorship election in the state, for breaching Ajaka’s fundamental rights.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, also directed Governor Bello to publicly apologize to Ajaka “for the gross and unwarranted violation” of his rights.
Additionally, the judge ordered the security agencies and their heads to provide maximum security, ensuring Ajaka’s safety and that of his property within Abuja, Kogi, and Nigeria before, during, and after the governorship poll held on November 11.
The court also issued an injunction restraining the security agencies from arresting/abducting, detaining, or further harassing Ajaka or threatening his life and properties.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ajaka had sought protection from the court against the governor, Nigeria Police Force, Inspector General, Kogi Commissioner of Police, Department of State Service (DSS), DSS DG, Director of DSS Command in Kogi, Commandant-General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, and Chief of Naval Staff.
Ajaka alleged that he was threatened by Governor Bello and his appointees and that armed officers had taken actions against him.
The court found in his favour, stating that none of the respondents’ evidence was able to address the incident of June 3, which was the subject matter of Ajaka’s case.
The judge found that the governor and the security agencies violated Ajaka’s rights under the constitution.
The court awarded damages considering the trauma and near-death experience suffered by Ajaka and the violation of his rights to life and dignity.
This judgment reflects the condemnation of such breaches of fundamental rights by the court.
This ruling emphasises the importance of upholding the fundamental rights of all citizens and holding those who violate these rights accountable.