A Federal High Court in Abuja has on Monday ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay N50 million to Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy.
According to Oputa’s lawyer, Inihebe Effiong, Justice John Tsoho also asked the police to publish an apology in two national newspapers to his client.
Charles Oputa accused the police of invading the Unity Fountain in Abuja on August 8, 2017, to attack him and his group with teargas canister and wild police dogs.
This was during the ‘Resume or Resign’ protest he led with other activists against prolonged absence of President Muhammadu Buhari from Nigeria. The president was then in the UK on medical vacation.
Giving the account of the judgement, Effiong said the court held that protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right provided it is done peacefully.
He, however, said Monday’s judgment sends unequivocal message to the Nigerian police that they have no power to stop or disrupt peaceful protests by Nigerians.
As at the time of filing this report, efforts to get the reaction of the police’ lawyer, O. M. Atoyebi, were unsuccessful.