Ini Billie, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Etinan has ordered the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State and Police Inspector, Gospel Archibong to pay a murder suspect, Aniekan Bassey Aaron, N2 million as damages for the breach of his fundamental human rights.
Aaron had filed a fundamental human rights suit against Ntiense Princewill Ikpe, Nsemeke Etim Ikpe, Inspector Godswill Archibong and the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State for making him sleep on a bare floor for three months while awaiting trial.
In his judgment, Justice Ezekiel Enang ordered that the N2m damages be paid jointly or severally by the Commissioner of Police and Inspector Godswill Archibong in addition to N50,000 as a cost of action against them.
The court held that the respondents breached the applicant’s fundamental rights, when they caused him to sleep on the bare floor while in police detention between April 28, 2021, and July 6, 2021.
The judge held that an accused person is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, irrespective of the seriousness of the offence alleged against him.
“Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and no person shall be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.
“By causing the applicant to sleep on a cold bare floor from 28th April 2021 to 6th July 2021, the 3rd and 4th respondents subjected the applicant to inhuman and degrading treatment.
“A suspect or accused person is entitled to the right of the dignity of his human person and he is not to be subjected to inhuman treatment, such as the one meted to the applicant, by being made to sleep on the cold bare floor for a period of three months,” the court stated.