A Minna based legal practitioner, Barrister Benjamin Attah, of Umaru Kawu Chambers has petitioned the commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Niger State Command, Mr Haruna Bala Zurmi over unlawful detention of his client, Alhaji Surajo Mariga.

Barrister Benjamin, a legal practitioner with Umaru Kawu and company had already filed a suit in a Minna High Court for the enforcement of his fundamental right as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In a 17 paragraph affidavit deposed at  a Minna High court, the legal practitioner claimed that Alhaji Surajo Mariga who is a business man based in Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State, was unlawfully arrested at Mariga Market and whisked away in a waiting Hilux van belonging to the Corps.

Also joined in the suit are the Deputy Commandant in charge of investigation, Mr Bello Alkali Argungu and Assistant Superintendent of Corps, Mr Nurudeen Abdulkadir of the Niger State Command of the NSCDC.

According to the statement, pursuant to order two rule three of fundamental rights enforcement procedure filed in court, declared that the plaintiff is a reputable business man in Mariga town adding that his arrest and subsequent detention is an embarrassment to the plaintiff, and without any reason by the respondents is an infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed right of the plaintiff.

The counsel according to him further claimed that the depositions contained in all the paragraphs in the affidavit are in compliance with order 2 of the rules.

“The applicant being a business man was embarrassed and maltreated by the respondents in that the 1st respondent ordered for the applicant’s arrest and detention and the said order was carried out by the 2nd and the 3rd respondent who went with a Hilux van to Mariga and arrested him with armed men in the open market in full glare of the public. The applicant, despite his protest of wanting to know what he did, was not told of his offence till date.The applicant is still being detained for over 48 hours without him being taken to court from the 26th of March, 2021 till date.” he cried

 Barrister Benjamin further submitted that whether or not the degrading treatment and arrest of his client in the full glare of hundreds of people in Mariga Market and his subsequent detention without giving him reason for so doing is not an infringement of his fundamental right.

“We submit that every individual in this country is entitled to respect for dignity of his person as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as Amended)  section 34(1) (a) provides.”  He added.

Submitting further, the legal practitioner averred that there are over 30 courts of competent jurisdiction in Minna should the respondents elect to take him to any court, Federal High court or state high court or Magistrate Court but they deliberately chose to keep him in detention in their facility for the show of strength or might and in total disregard to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended), “and we urge my Lord to so hold, and to hold that their breach of the provisions of the Constitution is a gross violation of the applicants fundamental right.”

He argued that the provision of section 35 (6), of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) “is that any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person.” On the whole, we urge my Lord to hold that the applicant is entitled to compensation and public apology we submit that from the above sections of the Constitution and authorities, what the respondents did to the applicant from the 26th of March 2021 was illegal and a violation of his fundamental right,”  he asserted.

In a swift reaction to the claims of the legal practitioner, the Public Relations Officer of the state command of the corp. Nasir Abdullahi ASC, explained that Alhaji Surajo Mariga was arrested and detained by the state command of the corps on the allegations of vandalizing of some National Critical Installations that was arraigned before a Federal High court in Minna.

He disclosed that he was granted bail by the Federal High court in Minna and he jumped bail that he was on the run after he was granted bail.

According to the state Corp spokesman, he was involved in the vandalization of Nitel mast sometime in September last year and charged to Federal High court in Minna” and since he was granted bail, he has severally refused to come back to court, since then the command has been on his trail until we got the hint of his whereabouts somewhere in Mariga before our men arrested him and brought him for detention in our facility.

“What we did was just to exercise our duty by complying with the court order. Even though, the legal department of the command has not gotten any court summon, that is just the position of the command as far as the arrest and detention of Alhaji Surajo Mariga was concerned. So I’m telling you that he is under detention for an offence of vandalizing of Nitel mast and we don’t have any regret for our action,” he declared.