A Federal High Court in Abuja has described the two-year detention of journalist Jones Abiri as outright conviction and ordered government to pay N10 million in damages to Mr. Abiri.
Following outcry by various human rights agencies and the media, Mr. Abiri was arraigned on militancy at a magistrate court in Abuja.
Speaking at a judgement on Mr Abiri’s fundamental rights suit at the Abuja Division of the Court on Thursday, the judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, said the federal government had no right to detain Mr Abiri after taking his statement in 2016.
“Having taken his statement, the applicant should have been arraigned,” Mr Dimgba ruled.
The judge added that FG’s submission that Mr. Abiri was detained in national security was baseless.
According to the judge, the federal government should have filed the suit against the defendant and asked the court to refuse him bail, so that the court will use its discretion to determine whether Mr. Abiri should be granted bail on not
The court therefore declared Mr. Abiri’s detention illegal and an abuse of his fundamental rights.
Mr. Abiri was arrested in August 2016 and detained for two years till his lawyers, led by human rights activist, Femi Falana filed a fundamental suit against the Federal government.