A Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia has ordered the Nigerian Army to pay two brothers, Destiny and Mustard Enweremadu N10 million for unlawful detention.
The two brothers are the children of the traditional ruler of Ngwa Ukwu, Eze Bernard Enweremadu.
The court presided over by Justice M. G. Umar however, ordered that the two Enweremadus be handed over to the police for proper investigation of the allegations against them.
They were arrested sometime last year by soldiers from the 14 Brigade Ohafia on April 7, 2012 over alleged case of armed robbery and kidnapping.
They were arrested from their fathers’ palace by soldiers following reports alleging that armed robbers and kidnappers were living in the palace.
Delivering judgment in a suit filed by the Enweremadus, Justice Umar said that it was wrong for the military to assume the role of the police when they are meant to take care of the territorial borders of the country.
According to him, the army have no right to detain anyone involved in a criminal case, saying “even when they make such arrests they are bound by law to hand them over to the police who have the right to detain them and investigate the matter properly.”
He berated the Army for their penchant for arresting and detaining people, saying that it was not their duty to detain but to hand over to police any suspect they arrested.
His words: “The law allows for detaining of suspects at least one day and at most two days, yet these boys have been in military cell without anyone knowing the state of their health.”
The applicants approached the court for the enforcement of their fundamental rights and asked for N100 million as damages, but were granted N10 million.