ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
A Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Yenagoa has awarded N3m in damages to a teenage girl facing trial for alleged circulation of nude video of a retired Permanent Secretary in the state.
The teenage girl (name withheld) had through her lawyer, Mr Andrew Arthur, sued the retired PermSec and the Department of State Services (DSS) for her arrest and detention for 13 days without trial.
According to the March 31 judgment seen on Thursday, Justice Ebiyerin Umukoro awarded the damage and additional N300,000 as costs for the breach of teen girl’s fundamental human rights.
According to the decision of the court, the retired PS, Dr Walton Liverpool, is to pay N1m, while the DSS will pay an additional N2m to the teenager as damages.
Umukoro indicated that while Liverpool had submitted a petition against the teenager to the Police who arrested her and later granted her bail, he submitted the same petition to the DSS for the same offence.
He, therefore, ruled that using multiple security agencies to detain the teenager amounted to intimidation and highhandedness which breached the fundamental human rights of the teenager.
The judge held: “In the final analysis, the applicant (teenager) has made out a case of infringement of her constitutional rights to personal liberty, dignity and freedom of movement between 5th and 8th of October 2021 to the 13th of October 2021 when she was arrested and detained without charge or a court order by the 3rd respondent (DSS).
“The applicant has equally shown that her remand was without probable cause shown by the 3rd respondent and therefore irregular, null and void and violation of Section 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Bayelsa 2019.”
Recall that the DSS had on October 18, 2021 arraigned the teenager before the Federal High Court also in Yenagoa where she is being tried on a one-count of cyber-stalking.
According to the prosecution, the defendant engaged in cyber-stalking by circulating the retiree’s nude video on a WhatsApp group after she allegedly tried to blackmail the retired PermSec into paying her N15m.
The teenager allegedly shot the video after a sexual intercourse with the retired PS at a hotel in Yenagoa in August 2021.
The trial of the teenager is currently ongoing. However, the DSS has headed to the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt to challenge the ruling of the Bayelsa State High Court on the fundamental human rights enforcement of the teenager.