Home News Court awards N2 million fine against SSS over seizure of Sowore’s phone

Court awards N2 million fine against SSS over seizure of Sowore’s phone

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The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the State Security Service (SSS) to pay Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, N2 million over the unlawful seizure of his mobile phone in 2019 at the point of his arrest.

Delivering judgement in the human rights suit filed by Mr Sowore, the judge, Anwuli Chikere, also ordered the SSS to immediately release the iPhone and a cash of N10,000 which were alleged to have been forcefully taken away from him without court warrant.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Sowore had, through his lawyer, Funmi Falana, alleged that the operatives of the SSS, on August 3, 2019 at a hotel in Lagos, forcefully took away his iPhones and the sum of N10, 000 when he was arrested on allegations bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.

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He was arrested on the basis of his plan to lead a protest, tagged, #RevolutionNow, against the President Muhammadu Buhari administration over its alleged maladministration in general.

The judge ordered the SSS, the 1st respondent in the case, to also tender an apology to Mr Sowore in two national dailies within two months.

Ms Chikere described the forceful seizure of the personal property of the publisher of SaharaReporters as “illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and gross violation of his fundamental rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.”

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She said the SSS ought to have obtained court order before the confiscation of his belongings and that the seizure can no be regarded as “temporary” since 2019.

The judge also held that the claim by the SSS that his phones were still under investigation since 2019 over his alleged link with terrorists was untenable, illegal and unconstitutional.

Mr Sowore’s lawyer, Mrs Falana, while reacting to the judgement, expressed happiness and described it as victory for justice.

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