In a significant legal development, retired Assistant Controller General of Immigration, Mr Okey Ezugwu, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Nigerian Army, seeking N100 million in damages for alleged violations of his fundamental human rights. The suit, marked Suit No: FHC/EN/CS/112/2023, was submitted on August 15, 2023, at the Enugu Division of the Federal High Court.
Ezugwu, through his Counsel, Dr M.V.C. Ozioko, has named the Nigerian Army, Private Ben Tserservey, Private Mohammed A, Private Ukam, Oke Hyacinth Ayogu, and HYMAC REAL Ltd as respondents. The retired Immigration Controller accuses the army personnel of assault, holding him hostage, and destroying his property without provocation.
The lawsuit is framed as a matter for the Enforcement of Fundamental Rights to dignity of the human person, personal liberty, property, and private and family life. It is initiated under Section 1 and Articles 5, 6, 9, and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004, as well as Sections 34 (1) (a), 35(1), 37, 43, 44, and 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), among other legal provisions.
Among the reliefs sought by Ezugwu, he aims for a declaration that the invasion of his premises and the subsequent maltreatment constitute a breach of his fundamental rights to dignity and personal liberty. He also seeks a declaration that the forceful seizure of his belongings and destruction of CCTV cameras installed on his property are illegal and unconstitutional.
Furthermore, the retired Immigration Controller requests a court order restraining the respondents from further invasion or intimidation, as well as an order directing the replacement and/or re-installation of the destroyed CCTV cameras. Additionally, he is seeking compensatory damages of N100 million for the alleged violation of his fundamental rights.
The lawsuit underscores the importance of upholding individual rights and ensuring accountability for any perceived abuses. As legal proceedings unfold, the case will be closely watched for its potential implications on human rights protections in Nigeria.