A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed February 27 to hear the fundamental rights suit filed by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Chapter against the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and eight others over alleged assault on one of its members.
The NUJ, Lagos chapter had filed the case against the defendants on behalf of a Badagry-based journalist, Otunba Yomi Olomofe for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to life, dignity of the human person and freedom of expression and the press following the severe assault and beating he suffered in hands of the customs and some suspected hoodlums allegedly hired by the custom officials.
When the matter came up yesterday for mention before Justice A. Anka, though none of the defendants was in court nor represented, however, the counsel representing the plaintiff, Adelayo Banjo of Jiti Ogunye chambers informed the court that the defendants are yet to be served on the processes of the case.
Subsequently the court fixed February 27 for the hearing of the case while directing that all processes in the case be served on the defendants. The Lagos State Chapter of NUJ had filed a N500 million criminal suit against NCS, over the brutal assault of Olomofe, at Seme border post of the NCS last year. The NUJ is asking for N500 million as special and exemplary damages for the violation of the applicant’s rights.
The applicant, in the suit, asked the court for a declaration that the beating meted out to him by the defendants, who inflicted bodily and internal injuries on him on June 25, 2015, in the premises of the NCS, Seme, was “capable of infringing on his right to life as guaranteed by Section 33 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
The applicant prayed the court to declare that the beating in the course of discharging his professional duties and obligations, constituted an infringement on his rights to freedom of expression and the press as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.