A Federal High Court in Abuja has awarded a N1 million fine against the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for the unlawful detention of former Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Dibu Ojerinde.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in his ruling, also awarded the sum of N200,000 as a fine against the ICPC as Ojerinde’s cost of instituting the suit.
The judges held that even though there was a pending case of conspiracy, multiple identity cards with different names against Ojerinde, detaining him was unlawful.
Justice Egwuatu held that it was undisputed that there was a pending charge against the ex-JAMB boss bordering on conspiracy to sell, sale of forfeited property, and multiple identity cards with different names against Ojerinde, but he is presumed to be innocent until he has been proven guilty.
Justice Egwuatu also held that although there was a fresh charge against the professor and his arraignment before a sister court was thwarted because of the court vacation and non-sitting of court, detaining him without an order of detention for the duration of custody was a violation of his fundamental rights.
He said the rearrest of Ojerinde on January 26 was lawful based on the search warrant obtained from the chief judge of the court, keeping him in detention is unlawful because it has no order of detention against him.
He explained that detaining him without an order of detention for the duration of custody was a violation of his fundamental rights.
Ojerinde, in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/179/2023 filed before Justice Egwuatu, had sought an order to enforce his fundamental rights, following his re-arrest on January 26 within the court premises and his subsequent detention.
The former JAMB boss also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the anti-graft agency and its officers from arresting or detaining him on account of the suit for which he was facing a criminal charge or to file an amended charge.
Among others, he also sought an order directing the commission to pay him the sum of N500 million only, as exemplary damages for the breach of his rights to personal liberty, freedom of movement, the dignity of the human person and the presumption of innocence as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Recall that the ICPC accused Ojerinde of diverting public funds to the tune of N5 billion.
He was, however, re-arrested on January 26 by the operatives of the anti-graft commission while he was heading to his car with one of his sons after Justice Egwuatu adjourned further proceedings in the charge preferred against him.