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Police Inspector Ordered to Pay N5m Damages to Tricycle Operator Detained for 5 Days


A female Police Inspector, Iniobong Umoren, has been ordered to pay a tricycle operator, Jeremiah Sunday Udo, the sum of N5m for detaining him for five days and impounding his motorcycle in Akwa Ibom State.
It was the judgment of the Presiding Judge, Justice Ntong Ntong of a High in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, who slammed the fine on Inspector Umoren for unlawful arrest and detention of a commercial tricycle operator, Mr. Udo, in response to an application for the enforcement of fundamental rights brought by the applicant, Udo.
The applicant, Mr. Udo, had claimed that he bought the tricycle on hire purchase for N1.9m and the Police Inspector Umoren seized the tricycle and incarcerated him for five days without food or water.
While delivering judgment, Justice Ntong ruled that  Mr. Udoka David, a friend of the tricycle rider, should pay an additional N5 million for instigating the Police to arrest and detain Mr. Udo for five days without providing food and water.
However,  the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Mr. Olatoye Durosinmi, who was joined in the suit as the third respondent, was excluded from the matter.  But the Court advised him to ensure his officers and men carry out their duties within the bounds of the law.
Udo, who resides in Ifa Ikot Idang village in Uyo, had informed the Court that he had been fulfilling the hire purchase agreement to the tricycle’s owner, David, from a neighbouring village in Ikono Local Government Area.
He claimed that he owed a week’s return of N20,000 due to economic challenges caused by the Naira policy and was unexpectedly ambushed and arrested on 12th February, 2023, despite having paid N885, 000 out of the N1.9 million agreed upon in the hire purchase agreement for full ownership of the tricycle.
Justice Ntong wondered why the Police officer impounded the tricycle and handed it over to the first respondent without a Court order.
“The first respondent, Mr. Udoka David, took the law into his hands and lured the Policewoman, who also allowed herself to be led into jettisoning the rule of law using the name of the  Inspector General and Commissioner of Police to authenticate her unlawful act.”
“Because of greed, Inspector Iniobong Umoren usurped the role of the Court and became a law unto herself. Having encroached on the fundamental rights of the tricycle rider, the law is there to protect the tricyclist from heartless people like Inspector Iniobong Umoren and Mr. Udoka David,” he said.
“I have read all the processes filed by the parties and discovered that the evidence and documents including the bail bond, the petition and the statements exhibited by the first and second respondents, are doctored and fabricated to mislead the Court.”
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