Court Fines SON N2m For ‘Illegal’ Property Seal In Taraba, Orders Public Apology To Victim

Jalingo Federal High Court in Tarba State has on Friday slamed N2 million compensation against Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) for “unlawfully” locking up the business premises of one Chief Uche Obi, over alleged transaction of substandard products.

In addition, the court ordered SON to lift the sanction placed on Obi’s facility and publicly apologise to him.

Channels TV reported that the suit was filed in November 2021 after SON illegally shutdown Obi’s business premises 10 months ago.

The compensate, according to the court was in line with gross loss experienced by the plaintiff during the time his firm was locked up.

Justice Simon Amobeda while delivering  judgment said the invitation, arrest, and detention of the applicant by the officers of SON for a purely civil and business transaction that had no criminality whatsoever, were violative and in the rebuttal of the dignity of his person.

The judge added that this is congruent with Section 34 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), as well as Article 5 of the African Charter on Human Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Speaking in an interview with Channels Television, Uche Obi narrated the losses he suffered since officials of the agency locked his business premises for selling substandard building materials.

He expressed relief and gratitude over his vindication,  adding that he would always seek redress legally should SON go contrary to the orders of the court.

The Judge further ordered the respondent to grant a public apology to the applicant via two widely circulated national dailies –– preferably the Guardian and Punch –– within 48 hours for the violation of the fundamental human rights of the applicant.

The court statement read: “That, the respondent shall pay the sum N2,000,000.00 in favour of the applicant as compensation/damages for the breach of his fundamental rights, as preserved under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and the African Charter Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Art, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“That, without prejudice to any investigation being carried out by the respondent, the respondent shall within 48 hours of service of this order upon them, cause the office and business premises of the applicant to be unsealed.

“That, the respondent, their agents, privies and anyone, however called, are restrained from further inviting, arresting, detaining or threatening to arrest the applicant in connection with this matter.”


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