Human Rights: Edo woman sues DSS, Lebanese businessman for N350m

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A Benin, Edo State-based single mother, Ms Odegua Okojie, on Thursday filed a suit against a Lebanese businessman, Charles Makhoul, and the Department of State Services over what she called her illegal detention for nine days.

In a suit filed at the Federal High Court, Benin, Okojie claimed that during her detention in a Department of State Services facility, she was denied access to her lawyer and family members, while her mobile phone was seized.

Also joined in the suit, marked FHC/B/cs/120/2019, is the Director-General of the DSS and the Director, Edo State Command of the agency.

Okojie said she was first taken to the DSS facility in Benin before she was whisked to Abuja without being charged or knowing the offence she committed.

She stated that she was taken into custody at night, while her two-year-old daughter cried and wandered about all through the night before she was recovered from the roadside the following morning by her teacher, who came to take her to school.

Okojie explained that at the DSS facility in Abuja, while being video-recorded, she was forced to accept the sum of N6m as compensation for the atrocities allegedly perpetrated against her by the Lebanese businessman, whom she lived with as a minor till her adult age.

She pointed out that the illegal detention from July 9 to 16, 2019, was not only an infringement on her fundamental human rights, but also unlawful and unconstitutional.

The single mother subsequently demanded N300m in damages for the violation of her fundamental rights by the 1st to the 3rd respondents.

The applicant is also asking the court to award her N50m as exemplary damages for the unlawful and unwarranted infraction of her rights.

When the case came up before Justice Muhammad Umar on Thursday, the counsel for the 3rd respondent, Mr John Besong, filed two applications for the extension of time to enable him to file a counter affidavit to the one filed by the applicant.

The counsel for the applicant, Mr T. A. Akakhomen, and for the 1st and 2nd respondents, Mrs O. A. Odigwe, did not object to the applications, which were granted by the judge.

Similarly, Akahomen and Odigwe had their respective applications on the matter granted by the judge.

The matter was subsequently adjourned till February 12, 2020 for hearing.

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