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Court Slams DSS, AGIP With N300m Damages For Illegal Detention Of Bayelsa Youth Activist

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The Bayelsa State High Court has ruled in favor of Comrade Trueman Collins Opumie, a youth activist who was illegally arrested and detained by the Department of State Security (DSS) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) for over two years.

The court awarded Opumie N300 million in damages, citing false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Justice Ebiyon Duke Charlie, in his ruling on the suit numbered YHC/324/2022 on Monday declared that the claimant was forcefully imprisoned and should be awarded N300 million for compensation.

Opumie’s lawyer, Ebipreye K.V. Sese Esq., hailed the judgment as a victory for justice, saying it shows that the judiciary is the hope of the common man.

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He said “it’s a serious congratulations to the claimant, Comrade Opumie, that at the end of the day the court saw merit in his case and us a favourable judgement.”

“The case entirely was two, false imprisonment and malicious persecution, and the court successfully upheld the issue of false imprisonment, and on the malicious persecution was disagreed on, but it’s still a win win for the claimant”

“Am believing strongly that justice is seem to have been served. I appreciate the judiciary as a matter of fact that the judiciary system in Nigeria is one that we can rely on in the dispensation of justice, and that we have achieved today.

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“Am well satisfied with the judgement because there must be an end to litigation. The court has come to his conclusion to uphold the claimants claim that he was forcefully imprisoned and his entitled to N300 million, it’s a good judgement.”

“It is often said that the judiciary is the hope of the common man, this is one particular instance that it has been established that indeed the judiciary is the hope of the people.”

Opumie, who was denied medical attention and subjected to physical and mental torture, expressed satisfaction with the judgment, thanking his lawyer and supporters for standing by him.

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“I am happy even when all our expectations were not met, I thank all those who stood by me, the traditional rollers and my lawyer for standing by the truth”.

Recall Comrade Collins Opumie, in a statement of claims, had accused the DSS in Yenagoa of allegedly abducting him at the instance of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in a gestapo style, physically and mentally torture him, tie and throw him into the boot of a vehicle and taken to Abuja like a common criminal without the knowledge of his family and access to medical care.

Opumie, filed a suit against his illegal arrest and detention with demands for the sum of N9 billion in damages.

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He also prayed the court to declare that his arrest, torture and subsequent detention without proper food and medical attention and access to family members for two years for false Imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

In his eight prayers before the court, Opumie sought the order of the court against the defendants jointly and severally “for damages suffered as a result of the false imprisonment for two (2) years under the custody of the DSS (2nd set of defendants) in their prison facilities without bail or arraignment in a court of law at the instance of the Agip (1st set of defendants) false and malicious complaints/reports against him”

“An injunction restraining the 2nd and 3rd set of defendants from further harassing or attempts to arrest and detain the claimant at the instance of the 1st set of defendants.”

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