Court awards N50m damages against Police for disrupting Charly Boy’s protest in 2017

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 The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has awarded N50million as exemplary damages against the Nigeria Police for violently disrupting a peaceful protest in 2017 led by an activist and one of Nigeria’s most controversial entertainers, Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy.

The appellate court also dismissed the appeal by the Inspector-General of Police and FCT Commissioner of Police against a 2018 judgment involving Charly Boy.

The judgment was delivered by the current Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, who awarded the N50million damages against the police for violently disrupting a peaceful protest led by Charly Boy and others, under the aegis of Our Mumu Don Do, as they gathered at the Unity Fountain in Abuja on August 8, 2017.

The Nigerian News reports that Charly Boy and other protesters had demanded the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari on the grounds that he travelled to the United Kingdom for medical attention and remained there for over 90 days.

Charly Boy, in a suit FHC/ABJ/CS/343/2018 filed on March 29, 2018, by his lawyer Inibehe Effiong, explained how about 100 policemen dispersed the protesters with tear-gas canisters, hot water cannons and wild police dogs.

The 72-year-old activist noted that the assault was so severe that he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital.

While delivering judgment on October 22, 2018, Justice Tsoho ruled that there was no evidence that miscreants invaded or stormed the venue of the protest, neither were they violent in any way.

The police, however, filed a Notice of Appeal on October 23, 2018, through their counsel O. M. Atoyebi, praying the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment.

In a unanimous judgment on Thursday, a three-man panel dismissed the appeal filed by the police and upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court.

While delivering the lead judgment, Justice Jumbo-Ofo agreed with Charly Boy’s counsel that the activist had proved his case with credible, convincing and unchallenged evidence.

The appellate court, therefore, maintained that the Police must pay the sum of N50 million to Charly Boy, adding that the police must also tender written apologies in two national newspapers and also pay the sum of N100,000 as the cost of action.

Reacting after the ruling, Effiong and his colleague, S. M. Oyeghe Esq, commended the appellate court for its decision which they said would enhance Nigeria’s democracy.

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