The quest by an Enugu-based lawyer, Ben Oloko, to enforce his fundamental human rights over the seizure of his mobile phones, detention and verbal attacks by officials of the state government suffered a setback yesterday as the court dismissed his suit.

Oloko, on February, 28, last year, arrested, detained and his phones seized by the Chief Security Officer attached to the Government House, Enugu, for allegedly taking pictures at the Lion Building after a meeting.

Although he had argued that there was no order restraining people from taking pictures at Lion Building and petitioned the Chief of Staff to the governor, requesting that his phones be released, his prayers fell on deaf ears.

He, therefore, sued Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, his Chief Security Officer (CSO) and the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State, demanding a written apology, the release of his seized phones and N200milion as general damages for the embarrassment he suffered.

But ruling on the matter yesterday, Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Enugu, stated that the lawyer had no right to take pictures at prohibited places, such as Government House, for security reasons.

He disagreed with the lawyer that his fundamental rights were breached with the seizure of his phones and the alleged verbal attacks he received and awarded N150, 000 against him.

Oloko, while reacting to the judgment, said the Judge failed to cite any precedence to substantiate the claim that “Government House is a prohibited area,” stressing that there was no law to justify the stand.

He vowed to appeal the order, lamenting his phones have remained in the custody of the state government officials since then.

Source: Guardian (Nigeria)

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