A group of lawyers, led by Barrister Abba Hikima, has filed a suit Federal High Court, Lagos demanding N1billion reparation from Lagos State Government for profiling and detaining 123 Northern petty traders and commercial motorcycle operators.
The state government confirmed the arrest and detention of the petty traders and artisans and splashed their pictures and videos of their interrogation online.
The chairman of Lagos State Taskforce, Yinka Egbeyemi, said they waylaid them while travelling in a trailer into Lagos on Friday.
Following public outcry and the intervention of the governor of Jigawa State, Badaru Abubakar, the youths were released but their 48 motorcycles were not released to them.
But in an application filed on behalf of the 123 Northerners, Mr Hikima sought the following reliefs.
“A DECLARATION of this Hon. Court that the prevention of the applicants numbering 123 from moving into Lagos State of Nigeria by the Respondents without prima facie incriminating evidence against the applicants constitute a flagrant violation of the Applicants’ right to move freely throughout Nigeria as guaranteed by section 41 of the Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“A DECLARATION of this Hon. Court that the detention of the applicants numbering 123 by the Respondents in the absence of prima facie incriminating evidence against the applicants constitute a violation of the Applicants right to personal liberty protected by section 35 of the Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“A DECLARATION of this Hon. Court that the Respondents’ act of subjecting the Applicants to profiling and special investigation despite being found to be innocent Nigerians with common ethnic background amounts to a careless discriminatory treatment of the applicants capable of inciting reciprocal ethnic backlash in other Nigerian regions.
A DECLARATION that the description of arrest of the Applicants as “interception”, and the leader of the innocent travellers as “mastermind” by the 1st Respondent amounts to a demeaning and discriminatory treatment of the Applicants in contravention of section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as 1999 (amended).
“AN ORDER of this Hon. Court perpetually restraining the respondents by themselves, privies, agents or any person howsoever described from further arresting, detaining, threatening, intimidating, profiling or howsoever questioning the applicants in connection with the subject matter of this suit.
“AN ORDER of this Hon. Court mandating the Respondents to release to the Applicants their seized motorcycles numbering 48, the truck conveying the applicants, the applicants’ wears and any other goods belonging to the Applicants in custody of the Respondents forthwith.
“AN ORDER of this Hon. Court awarding the sum of N1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) payable by the Respondents jointly and severally to the Applicants as reparation.
“AN ORDER of this Hon. Court directing the Respondents to tender unreserved public apology to the Applicants.
“AN ORDER as to the cost of prosecuting this suit.
“AND such further order/orders as this Hon. Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance of this case.”