The Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, has ordered the State Security Service, SSS, to apologise to a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nasir el -Rufai, and to pay him the sum of N2 million as compensation for his unlawful detention during the Anambra gubernatorial election last November.
The court also declared that neither the SSS nor the Attorney-General of the Federation, who was joined in the suit, had any legal authority to restrict el-Rufai’s right of movement as enshrined in Section 34 of the Constitution, a ruling that has massive implications for future elections in the country.
El-rufai was detained and harrassed by SSS officials on November 15 and 16 2013, at the Finotel hotel, Awka.
Outraged at the way he was treated, El-Rufai sought legal redress, with the SSS and the Attorney-General of the Federation listed as respondents in the suit.
Justice Ibrahim Bature Gafai who delivered the judgment in Awka held that the SSS had no statutory powers under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or under any Nigerian law to have detained El Rufai without showing cause to a court of competent jurisdiction.
The court declared that the detention of El-Rufai without charge violated his right to peaceful assembly and association guaranteed under Section 40 of the Constitution.
Justice Gafai therefore ordered the SSS to publish an apology in two national dailies for the unlawful and unconstitutional violation of his liberty.