THE State Security Service (SSS) have been asked to pay N2 million to Sahara Reporters Publisher Omoyele Sowore for seizing his phones illegally.
An Abuja Federal High Court gave the order on Wednesday in a suit filed by Sowore against the agency.
In the suit, Sowore had prayed the court to compel the agency to return his phones seized in August 2019 when he was arrested.
Sowore had also asked the court, through his counsel Funmi Falana, to compel the SSS to pay him N20 million as damages for the period his phone was seized.
However, the SSS told the court that the phones were recovered from Sowore during his arrest and not seized.
Two years after the arrest, the agency also informed the court that the phones were still being checked for links to terrorism.
The agency’s positions was, however faulted by the counsel to the plaintiff.
Lawyers from the Ministry of Justice had also argued that they were raising preliminary objection to the lawsuit because Sowore was undergoing trial before another federal judge.
Falana argued before the court that there was no court order to seize her client’s phone. She informed the court that the agency had refused to return the phones and monies despite entreaties.
She also stated that the charge sheets produced in court did not state that the phones were part of the evidence before the federal judge.
She prayed the court to dismiss the preliminary objections raised by the Ministry of Justice and grant all of her client’s prayers.
Presiding Judge Anwuli Chikere ordered the agency’s to return Sowore’s phones to him.
She described the action of the secret police as illegal and a violation of Sowore’s right.
She also ordered the SSS to apologise to the plaintiff publicly in two national dailies.
Sowore was arrested in 2019 by the SSS after he planned to stage what he called ‘revolutionary protest’ across major cities in the country.
He was released on December 5, 2019, but was subsequently rearrested in court by the agency the following day.
Sowore was released on December 24, 2019. He is being prosecuted and charged for alleged terrorism and felony by the Nigerian government.