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Nigerian journalist returned to detention as court fails to hear fundamental rights suit

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A 72-year-old journalist and publisher of Power Steering Magazine,Tom Uhia, detained on the orders of Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power, Jeddy Agba, has been returned to police detention as the court failed to hear his fundamental human rights enforcement suit instituted by his legal team.

The matter, which was supposed to come up for hearing on Thursday, was stalled due to the absence of the judge.

No official reason was given for the absence of the judge.

Uhia has spent 26 days in detention at the Force CIID, Garki, Abuja, following his arrest after allegedly publishing a report on Agba.

Uhia’s legal team had dragged Agba, the DIG in charge of Force CIID, Micheal Anthony Ogbizi, and other police officers: Tahir Usman, Gabriel Elaigwu, Rojas Elijah Elebel and the Nigeria Police Force as 1st to 6th respondents before Justice Peter Affen of FCT High Court, Maitama, Abuja, to enforce his fundamental rights to personal liberty as guaranteed by sections 35, 37, 41 and 43 of 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

In the originating summons, the applicant is asking the court to award him the sum of N100m for his detention from Tuesday, 13th to 15th October, 2020, and his continued detention from Friday, 16th October 2020, after the fulfillment of the bail conditions till date without his arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction.

Uhia is also demanding another N10m as general damages for the mental trauma, unnecessary inconveniences, waste of time and expenses occasioned by the applicant’s continued detention by the respondents.

His counsel, Alex Oketa, filed the suit on his behalf.

A new date was fixed for Tuesday, 10th November 2020 for hearing and determination of the enforcement of human rights suit of the publisher.

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